WFTV obtains video of police interrogation of accused Winter Springs killer



WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. - Channel 9 has obtained interrogation video of a man accused of killing his neighbor in June in Winter Springs.

Video shows suspect Jeffrey Tilton, 30, sitting in an interrogation room after police found the body of Marie Alers, 44, in his apartment on June 3. Prosecutors are going for the death penalty in the case.

Alers lived a floor above Tilton at the Legends Apartment Homes complex.

"Do you know why you're here today?" a detective asks, and Tilton only nods his head.

"Can you tell me why you're here?" asked the detective.

"Because, uh, that missing girl or whatever," Tilton replied.

"OK. Do you know where she is?" asked the detective.

"You found her," Tilton replied.

According to Winter Springs detectives, the investigation began when Alers' boyfriend, Joel Kean, called 911 to report his girlfriend missing.

He told police he noticed all Alers' stuff -- a gym bag, sunglasses, keys and earrings -- strewn about in front of the suspect's unit when he went to pick her up.

The arrest report said Tilton grabbed Alers, dragged her into his apartment, raped her and killed her. Detectives said her naked body was then stuffed in a cardboard box that was found in the apartment.

Police said they never found a murder weapon and they believe he used his hands, feet or fists to kill her, according to the police report.

Tilton had scratches on his right cheek because of the struggle, police said.

"This is a, I cut my, I was moving cardboard. I cut my hand on the cardboard," Tilton told detectives.

"How about the cuts on your face?" the detective asked.

"I didn't know I had cuts on my face," Tilton said.

During the interview, Tilton told police he couldn't remember anything about what happened that afternoon.

"What did you do between the time you left the post office and the cops showing up at your house?" asked the detective.

Tilton paused for nine seconds before answering, "I don't know. It's just a blur."

Police said Tilton eventually confessed to the crime, but they said he showed no remorse and was later upset by how his alleged actions would affect his life.

"When you were coming to your apartment, where was she?" the detective asked.

"She was walking up ahead me," said Tilton.

"So she, you guys were walking up behind each other?" the detective asked.

"No, she was kind of a little bit further… and that's where things start to get kinda fast," said Tilton.

WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the interrogation will be a big part of the trial because of the death penalty case.

Everything in the video, including what Tilton said and how he acted, could be under the microscope, Sheaffer said.

"Don't forget that the jury will hear this statement in the guilt phase," said Sheaffer. "They will remember it in the penalty phase, and it could come back to haunt him without the prosecution ever formally arguing lack of remorse."

Kean described his girlfriend as a strong, wonderful person. He said she grew up in Mexico City, Mexico, and still has family there. He had been living at Legends Apartments for a few months, he said.

Tilton, who was engaged to be married at the time, didn't have a criminal record.

Tilton never gave police a motive, but investigators said he and the victim were nothing more than neighbors and didn't even know each other.

Evidence already filed in the case indicated that the defense may claim Tilton suffers from some kind of mental condition.