Bond has been reduced for an accessory to capital murder suspect charged in the Nov. 6 shooting death of a Mississippi State University student.
Mississippi 16th Judicial Circuit Judge Lee Coleman dropped Jamario Pippins’ bond to $100,000 Monday during a hearing in Lowndes County Circuit Court. His bond was originally set at $500,000.
Pippins, 22, of Columbus, is one of three suspects accused as accessories to the murder of 21-year-old Joseph Tillman in the Cotton District in Starkville. Two other suspects, 20-year-old Jaylen Barker and 18-year-old Syboris A. Pippins — Jamario’s first cousin — are charged with capital murder. All five suspects arrested in the case are from Lowndes County.
Tillman, 21, of Schlater was gunned down at about 1:50 a.m. on Maxwell Street, according to Starkville police. He was a senior marketing major at MSU. He was allegedly robbed at some point before the incident.
Police identified Barker as the shooter and implicated Syboris Pippins in the robbery.
During Jamario Pippins’ hearing Monday, attorneys Mark Jackson and Shane Tompkins, representing Pippins, argued Starkville Municipal Judge Rodney Faver set Pippins’ bond too high.
Fieda Pippins, Jamario’s mother, said the family would pay his bond but could not afford to at $500,000.
“Setting a bond that is unreasonable or unduly prejudicial to him is the same thing as setting no bond,” Jackson said. “That’s what case law says: If you set a bond that’s too high for him to make, that’s too outrageous or unreasonable, it’s tantamount to denying him bond.”
Pippins’ attorneys also pointed out he has no prior criminal history, and as a lifelong resident who is employed in Columbus with family in the area, he is unlikely to flee the area.
Frieda Pippins said during testimony she didn’t know how her son ended up with the other suspects in the crime. She said she does not know Syboris Pippins personally.
She said Jamario left his home with some other friends who were not involved in the shooting.
“My understanding was he just caught a ride with them and was in the car,” she said.
A Starkville Municipal Court affidavit for Pippins does not offer much insight into Pippins’ alleged role in the shooting or the aftermath. The document only says he did “aid and assist Jaylen Malik Barker” knowing that he’d killed someone, “with the intent to enable Jaylen Malik Barker to avoid arrest.”
Barker also faces a possession of a stolen firearm charge. He is in custody at Clay County Jail on $2.03 million bond, while Syboris Pippins remains in Oktibbeha County Jail on a $2 million bond.
Also facing accessory charges are 16-year-old Tyler Harris and 19-year-old Brandon Sherrod. Their bonds were set at $500,000 each.
Sherrod has posted bond since his arrest, according to SPD, while Harris was released as a minor and is expected to be processed through youth court.
Pleased with the result
Jackson said, after the hearing, that he was pleased to see Jamario Pippins’ bond reduced.
“Our client is relieved that his bond has been set at a more reasonable amount,” Jackson said. “Our goal is now to get him out of jail and home with his family. The allegation against Mario is completely contradictory with the young man his family, friends and co-workers who were in the courtroom (on Monday) know.”
During Monday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Scott Rogillio pointed out that the investigation is ongoing, though he doesn’t expect Jamario Pippins to face additional charges.
“If all the evidence is all we have, we have the proper charge,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to come out of it, if anything is going to come out of it. But we don’t have that.”
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.