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Updated: 2:11 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 | Posted: 12:27 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010

Jailhouse interview: ‘I did not hit Bobby Tillman'

By Larry Hartstein

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The four teens accused in the beating death of Bobby Tillman all say they're innocent, and a couple sent condolences to his family in a jailhouse interview.

Three of the suspects -- Tracen Lamar Franklin, 19, Horace Damon Coleman, 19, and Emmanuel Benjamin Boykins, 18 -- spoke to Channel 2 Action News from the Douglas County Jail Tuesday. The fourth, Quantez Devonta Mallory, 18, did not want to be interviewed but asserted his innocence.

"No, I did not hit Bobby Tillman," Franklin told Channel 2.

The suspects described Tillman, 18, as an innocent bystander. They blamed others for his death. Tillman was beaten and stomped to death at a Saturday night house party in Douglasville.

"Bobby looked at me and I was like, ‘What are you looking at?'" Boykins told the station. "A friend of mine came and he said, ‘Well, we've got to pound him.' And I said, ‘Nah, I don't know him. He didn't talk about anything.' [Then the friend] ran across the street or whatever and punched [Tillman] and he fell on top of the car, so while I was trying to pull my friend off of him, more people came and jumped in. I don't know who all those people are."

Boykins and Coleman sent condolences to Tillman's family.

Authorities say they have witness statements contradicting the suspects' claims.

According to witnesses, Tillman was attacked as he and a group of teens tried to leave a house party on Independence Drive. Witnesses said the fight began as a spat between two girls, one of whom struck a boy, who angrily declared that while he would not hit a girl, he'd hit the next boy he saw.

That turned out to be Tillman.

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