Exam set for man charged in Sanford stepdad's death

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A Roseville man appeared briefly in court Tuesday on charges that he killed the stepfather of a teen wrongly jailed for eight years.

Floyd Darnell Nix, 35, has been remanded to jail on charges of first-degree murder, felony firearm, and being a felon in possession in the Nov. 3 shooting death of Jermaine Tilmon. The 39-year-old victim was known as a Ceasefire activist in Detroit and was stepfather to Davontae Sanford, who was imprisoned for eight years for murders he did not commit.

Floyd Darnell Nix, 35, of Roseville is the defendant charged with first degree murder, felony firearm and felon in possession of a firearm in connection with the fatal shooting of Jeremaine Tilmon, 39 of Detroit.

Nix stood silently in court Tuesday during his brief probable cause hearing, dressed in a green Wayne County Jail jumpsuit with a red chest pocket. Two supporters in the courtroom declined to comment or identify themselves following the hearing.

The defendant is due back in court Dec. 5 for a preliminary examination. At least four witnesses are expected to be called, according to the prosecutor's office.

Attorneys declined to comment after the hearing Tuesday.

Police have said Tilmon's body was found Nov. 3 on the 3600 block of Chatsworth. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation revealed Tilmon was standing in front of the home of an old friend around 2:30 a.m. when he had an encounter with another man. Tilmon was unarmed and had his hands up when he was shot, prosecutors said in a statement.

Tilmon was stepfather to Sanford, the man who was released from jail earlier this year after serving eight years for a quadruple homicide on Runyon. After Sanford was jailed, self-professed hitman Vincent Smothers confessed to the shootings. He has not been charged in the crimes.

In May, Michigan State Police submitted the results of their 11-month re-investigation of the case: They said someone else had committed the killings for which Sanford was convicted. He walked out of the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia on June 8 a free man. His case was officially closed July 19, when Wayne Circuit Judge Brian Sullivan granted prosecutors’ June 8 motion to drop charges against Sanford.

Sanford's case became a national cause for innocence advocates who called Sanford’s conviction a miscarriage of justice.

(313) 223-4616


Staff Writers James David Dickson and George Hunter contributed.