Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trial gets under way for Riverview woman accused of shooting house guest

TAMPA — She waited outside the house, repeating the story. To herself, maybe, or perhaps to a listening ear nearby.

"Bang bang," a sheriff's deputy testified he heard Tamra Leasure say, over and over. "Bang bang" for the two shots she said she fired.

That's one version of Leasure's story that jurors heard Tuesday at the start of her second-degree murder trial.

Leasure, 45, is accused of killing Arthur Tilley, 57, of Maine, shooting him three times — not just twice — while he was staying at her Riverview house in 2009.

Leasure is expected to take the stand today to say she was standing her ground. But the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office argues lawful self-defense is another untruthful layer in her changing story.

Since Leasure has admitted to shooting Tilley, the trial outcome depends on whether the jury decides she was within her rights to protect herself under "stand your ground," a controversial state law allowing forceful self-defense if threatened.

Leasure's story wavered through recorded interviews with detectives that night in 2009, played to jurors Tuesday.

"I'm in shock," she often said throughout the interviews.

Within hours of the shooting, Leasure took back the following claims she had made: that Tilley brandished the gun; that he shot himself in the head with the first bullet; and that she took the gun from his hands.

Her statements of "I have no idea where he got this gun from," and "I don't own that weapon," turned into, "I keep it under my mattress, and, yes, that was my gun."

By the end of the two recorded interviews, here's Leasure's final version: Tilley verbally threatened her. She got her gun and shot him, three times, as he approached her saying he would kill her and then himself.

When detectives wondered how an unarmed, 5-foot-6 man who had been drinking heavily was going to kill her, Leasure said she didn't know.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2443.

Trial gets under way for Riverview woman accused of shooting house guest 02/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 11:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dunedin man arrested for having destruction devices, deputies say

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Deputies will be speaking later today to discuss a Dunedin man who was charged with possessing destruction devices in his home.

  2. Officials release names of those aboard plane that landed in St. Pete neighborhood


    ST. PETERSBURG — Officials released the names of the two people aboard the plane that made an emergency landing Wednesday on a neighborhood street in south St. Petersburg.

  3. Spencer: 'A better and more beautiful world if people like me were in power'


    In the a small theater crammed with cameras, Richard Spencer and a small group of his coordinators clashed with reporters as his controversial speech in the Phillips Center drew near Thursday.

    A crowd gathers ahead of Richard Spencer's appearance at the University of Florida on Oct. 19, 2017. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  4. Analysis: George W. Bush's unmistakable takedown of Trumpism - and Trump


    For the last nine years, George W. Bush has largely stayed out of presidential politics; he declined to criticize his successor, Barack Obama, and he chose not to endorse but largely ignored President Donald Trump. While Mitt Romney and others spoke out publicly against Trump, Bush stayed above the fray.

    That …

    Former President George W. Bush speaks at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. [Seth Wenig | Associated Press]
  5. Fennelly: Even frustrated Bucs fans hold out hope


    Many fans wrote back when I threw out an all-points the other day, asking if Bucs fans are perpetually in a state of expecting the worst.

    Bucs fans cheer during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins in August at Raymond James Stadium.