Tabernacle’s Pastor Convicted!
Tiller Charged With Forging Checks at Ardmore Church
Chronicle News Services
By JOHN W. SIMMS
Special to the Chronicle
ARDMORE--After the jury read aloud the guilty verdicts, Rev. Willie Tiller Jr. was taken to jail.
That’s where Rev. Willie Tiller Jr. will stay until he’s sentenced for writing himself 10 checks from the First Baptist Church's daycare account, totaling $12,000.
The church is located on the east side of Ardmore.
Rev. Tiller had served as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Ardmore for 10 years.
He left First Baptist last year, and began to serve as pastor to the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Oklahoma City.
Sources said that Rev. Tiller was fired by Tabernacle some months ago.
The prosecutor said it is believed Rev. Tiller forged more checks than 10 checks, but he decided to limit the charges.
I really appreciate the efforts of the jury. They were very attentive, paid very close attention and I think their verdicts were supported by the evidence,” says Carter County District Attorney Craig Ladd.
"As I told the church, there are no winners, no matter what transpired," Rev. Wayne Lawson, the current pastor of First Baptist, said.
Rev. Lawson said the church struggled to keep the day care center afloat after the check forgeries, but the center is now operating as before.
Now they just hope to move on,” the prosecutor commented.
Sources said Rev. Tiller was offered a plea deal, which would require that he spend a year in prison in exchange for a guilty plea.
The minister rejected the plea offer and his trial began last week. The trial lasted two days before the jury found him guilty on all 10 counts.
“Our hearts are broken,” Rev. Lawson said after the verdicts were read. “We don't like what he did but we still love him as a child of God.”
Rev. Tiller's sentencing hearing is scheduled for December.
The jury recommended that Rev. Tiller be sentenced to a year in prison for each of the 10 convictions.
Rev. Willie Tiller Jr. as he was booked before his trial.
Rev. Willie Tiller Jr. after he was handcuffed and escorted to jail.
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