California suspect in homicides jailed here|[03/20/08]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2008

A California man wanted on juvenile sexual battery charges and suspected in multiple homicides was arrested in Vicksburg Wednesday morning following a three-day investigation by local law agencies and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Conti Lashawan Tillis, 33, of Richmond, was located in a home in the 8600 block of U.S. 61 and arrested without incident, said Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace.

“Now we’ll be trying to determine if anyone locally may have aided the fugitive,” Pace said, “and if we find they have we’ll certainly be filing charges against them for aiding and abetting.” Tillis was in the Warren County Jail without bond, awaiting extradition to California, where he has outstanding warrants for sexual assault of a minor and parole violation. He is a suspect in “more than one homicide in the Oakland area,” Pace said.

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Monday, California police notified the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force in Jackson that Tillis was thought to be in the Vicksburg area, said task force inspector Jeffrey Husted. The federal agents then contacted local law agencies to initiate a joint search for Tillis, who had been on the run from California authorities since the end of February, Husted said.

More than 27,000 state and local fugitives were arrested on felony charges by regional task forces throughout the country in 2007.