Remembering a Legal Luminary
Charleston attorney John H. Tiller—known for his unwavering dedication and unmatched kindness—succumbed to pancreatic cancer in the early hours of Monday. Tiller, who tirelessly fought for justice until the very end, leaves behind a legacy that will forever be cherished.
A Trusted Figure in the Courtroom
“Allendale attorney Mark Tinsley, of Gooding and Gooding, expressed his deep sorrow, saying, ‘He was a good friend and a skilled attorney.'” Tinsley represented the family of Mallory Beach, whose life was tragically cut short in a boat crash three years ago. The incident led to charges against Alex Murdaugh’s son, Paul, who, at the time, was 19 years old and faced three felony counts of boating under the influence. Alex Murdaugh, along with his son Buster, faced charges as well due to Paul using Buster’s license to purchase alcohol that night. Tiller joined Alex and Buster’s legal team in June 2019 and continued to fight for their cause.
The Last Man Standing
Following Alex Murdaugh’s involvement in a roadside shooting incident in September, and the subsequent allegations of embezzlement against him by his former law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, and Detrick, only Tiller remained by his side. Tiller’s reputation in the courtroom truly spoke for itself, as Tinsley shared, “John didn’t make it personal. He had a pragmatic view of the world, tackling each case with relentless dedication to find resolution.”
A Legacy of Excellence
Tiller’s legal prowess was honed at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he graduated in 1987. He began his career at Sinkler & Boyd, now known as Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd. Throughout his illustrious career, Tiller garnered numerous accolades, recognition, and respect from peers and clients alike. In 2012, Benchmark Litigation bestowed upon him the esteemed title of “South Carolina Litigator of the Year.” In 2016, the South Carolina Association for Justice presented him with the “Worthy Adversary Award.” Finally, in 2018, the University of South Carolina School of Law Alumni Council honored him with the prestigious “Gold Compleat Lawyer Award.” It was evident that Tiller’s dedication to his craft was unwavering and deeply admired.
A Life Well-Lived
Tiller’s personal life was equally fulfilling. He had been happily married to his wife, Dana R. Tiller, for an impressive 33 years. Additionally, he found great joy in being surrounded by numerous godchildren, nephews, nieces, and cousins.
Attorneys from across the state have taken to the internet to express their genuine admiration and appreciation for Tiller. Brandon Dawson, a fellow attorney, reminisced, “Every time you shared a room with John, he would make you smile. Working on any case where he was involved was always a pleasure. He lived life to the fullest while maintaining the utmost professionalism.”
Services for Tiller will be live-streamed at 11 a.m. on June 3, and the family will welcome guests in the Parish Hall following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Prince George Winyah Church.
A Personal Loss and a Legal Void
Tinsley deeply mourns not only the loss of a dear friend but also the absence of a worthy courtroom adversary. Reflecting on the Murdaugh case, Tinsley shared, “I regret that he didn’t get to finish this case. John’s absence will forever be felt.”
About the Author
Liz Farrell is the newly appointed executive editor at FITSNews. She has been recognized as the top columnist in South Carolina by the South Carolina Press Association in 2018. After briefly stepping away from corporate journalism, Liz has returned, fully invigorated and ready to delve back into her true passion. You can reach her at [email protected] or connect with her on Twitter @ElizFarrell.
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