Fort Worth

Fort Worth killer on Death Row loses Supreme Court appeal

Tilon Lashon Carter, 36, is on Death Row.
Tilon Lashon Carter, 36, is on Death Row. Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a Fort Worth man on Death Row for smothering an 89-year-old man and robbing him of some $6,000 in 2004.

The high court, without comment, ruled Monday in the case of 36-year-old Tilon Lashon Carter. He does not yet have an execution date.

Carter’s appeals have focused on whether his Tarrant County trial attorneys were deficient and whether faulty instructions were given to trial jurors.

Carter was condemned for the robbery and slaying of James Eldon Tomlin, a retired Bell Helicopter employee and disabled veteran, at his Fort Worth home.

Prosecutors said Carter and his girlfriend, Leketha Allen — whose mother, a prostitute, had a 20-year relationship with Tomlin — went to Tomlin’s home on April 28, 2004, to rob him.

Later that day, Tomlin’s daughter found her father dead. Tomlin had been struck in the head, and his feet and hands were bound with duct tape. His mouth was taped.

The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled that Tomlin died from positional asphyxiation and that someone also smothered or attempted to smother him.

Investigators found over $20,000 cash hidden in containers inside Tomlin’s house and car. Allen and Carter made off with a shotgun and some coins.

During closing argument, prosecutors portrayed Carter as a longtime criminal whose violence was escalating and who deserved the death penalty.

After getting sentenced, Carter’s grandmother said her grandson was “framed” and that “we’ll try and get it appealed.”

A week after Carter was sentenced, Allen reached a deal with prosecutors and received a 25-year sentence for her role in the robbery and shooting. She remains in prison with a projected release date of 2029.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.