Will the lure of a classic C4 Corvette plus an ever-expanding $10,000 reward be enough to get information to solve a decade-old murder case in Tennessee?
The family of the victim, Dennis Gilliam, hopes so.
Gilliam was killed Sept. 23, 2011, but no one has ever served time for his murder.
“When I talk about it I start crying. It’s been like a sore in my stomach, like a sore here that won’t get well,” Gilliam’s mother, Mattie Williams, told News Channel 3 in Memphis this week. “He came to my mind and I just laid there and cried. People don’t know the tears I have shed. It hurts so.”
The killing came the night after a big fight outside Gilliam’s home. His brother, Anthony Gilliam, tried to talk Dennis into leaving afterward, but to no avail.
“This was his last words to me: ‘These kids ain’t fixing to run me out of my own … house, just like that,” Anthony said. Unfortunately, Dennis was killed later that night.
“He was laying on his back. They had shot him in his forehead in the temple. The bullet came out on the other side. This big hole,” his mother said.
“I thought by now they would have did something ’cause I talked to so many detectives. I have been downtown talking to (District Attorney General) Amy Weirich,” Williams said.
Police did arrest 32-year-old Ryan Nelson, who had been involved in the earlier fight and was dating Dennis’ stepdaughter. Despite a police affidavit that claims Nelson committed the murder and a statement from his girlfriend that he confessed to her for the crime, Nelson wound up being charged only for the initial assault involving the fight. News Channel 3 says the DA’s office told them there wasn’t enough evidence to take the murder case to trial.
“We need some justice,” Williams says. “My family we need justice. It’s been too long. All the evidence. There should have been something. There is something they missed. I won’t give up. I won’t give up.”
Now Dennis Gilliam’s family hopes their reward – including the vintage Corvette – will help solve the murder.
“Nothing has been done on the murder case,” Williams says. ‘It just sits there and sits there. They finally put it over in cold case. It’s been in cold case ever since. Now I need to put some fire under it.”
That fire includes a $10,000 reward the family pledges to increase by $500 each month until the crime is solved, not to mention Anthony’s vintage red C4 Corvette convertible.
“That is actually a classic,” he said. “Only has 76,000 miles on it. I will give it to the person. Plus my family is putting up 10,000 dollars and the reward is going up.”
They’re hoping that reward and renewed attention to the case will bring forth the evidence the DA says is necessary to re-open the case.
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