Crime & Courts

Woman accused of assaulting neighbor, bringing 'torture kit,' to get mental evaluation

A Lexington County judge this morning ordered a mental evaluation of 22-year-old Elizabeth Tillman accused of breaking into a neighboring woman’s home and shooting her in the leg.

The victim, 24-year-old Crystal Lee Walker, was in the courtroom with crutches and a bandage on her left knee, where police said she was wounded by a bullet fired through a door as she and her 4-year-old son hid from the intruder Monday.

Police have said the women had been feuding, and Tillman used a plastic card to force open the lock to Walker’s Sangaree Drive home before dawn Monday as part of a plot to torture and kill Walker. Police said they found a gym bag with an 8-inch filet knife, a hatchet, a sledgehammer, a drywall saw, duct tape, latex gloves, scissors and pepper spray.

S.C. Circuit Court Judge R. Knox McMahon ordered the S.C. Department of Mental Health to evaluate Tillman’s mental competency to stand trial, and denied her bond.

Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Donnie Myers said the victim did not want Tillman released because she is concerned about her son.

Tillman is charged with two counts of assault with intent to kill, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said.

A Lexington County magistrates judge denied Tillman bond earlier this week on assault charges, but state law requires a bond hearing in Circuit Court for first-degree burglary charges, because they can result in a life sentence.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said Tillman told investigators she intended to inject Walker with the insulin to induce a diabetic coma, before torturing and killing her.

Tillman's father had used insulin in the past to control his diabetes. Tillman legally bought a Springfield 9mm gun April 9 at a Lexington County gun shop and practiced firing the weapon at the store's firing range. On April 18, she bought the items recovered in the gym bag, Metts said.

Metts said Tillman forced open the lock to Walker’s home and fired several shots at Walker, who barricaded herself and her son in a bedroom. Tillman shot through the door, wounding Walker. Walker’s son was not injured.