Upgraded murder charges in Cotton District shooting

Austin Montgomery
Staff Writer

Two suspects allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of a Mississippi State University student have been charged with capital murder, according to the Starkville Police Department.

Jaylen Malik Barker, 20, and Syboris Pippins, 18, were given the upgraded charge Thursday. Barker was originally charged with first degree murder, and S. Pippins faced a robbery charge. Authorities believe the victim, Joseph Tillman, was robbed shortly before he was killed Nov. 6 on Maxwell Street around 2 a.m.

The new criminal complaints against S. Pippins and Barker claim the pair killed Tillman using a firearm, while in commission of a robbery.

The new charges carry a maximum penalty of death or life in prison, and it is currently unclear if District Attorney Scott Colom's office will seek the death penalty in the case. Colom could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Barker also faces an additional charge of possession of a stolen firearm, which was added Nov. 10. The possession charge coincided with authorities arresting S. Pippins earlier this week. Three other individuals face accessory charges for their roles in the incident.

Brandon Donya Sherrod, 19, Jammario Johnathan Pippins, 22, and Tyler Demond Harris, 16, were all charged with accessory to murder after the fact, court documents show. The charge carries a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. S. Pippins and Barker were given a new bond of $2 million each for the upgraded murder charge. Barker was also given an additional bond of $25,000 for the firearm charge Nov. 9.

For more, see the Nov. 11 edition.