DECATUR – Timothy Giles pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder Tuesday morning for the stabbing and shooting attack on Cindanett “Cindy” Eaton, 57, and Lindsey Eaton, 23, in their Harristown home in August 2011.
By pleading guilty, Giles, 30, agreed to a sentence of life imprisonment without parole.
Casey Eaton, 27, who was involved in a custody battle with Giles over a 9-month-old baby girl, was seriously wounded in the attack, and was left for dead. Cindanett was Casey's mother and Lindsey was her sister.
Giles, who has been held in the Macon County Jail on $5 million bond since his arrest, also pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder, for trying to kill Casey Eason, who Giles repeatedly stabbed and shot.
Giles, wearing a full beard, entered the courtroom, accompanied by a correctional officer, wearing a striped jail jumpsuit, handcuffed to a belly chain and in ankle shackles. He smiled at a family member in the gallery and sat at the defense table, next to his attorney, Monica Hawkins.
A Marine recruiter in Centralia at the time of the attacks, Giles answered “yes,sir” when Associate Macon County Judge James Coryell asked him if he understood what State's Attorney Jay Scott said about his pleading guilty to charges.
In presenting the factual basis of the case, Scott told much of the story of the horrific crimes from the point of view of the only surviving adult victim.
He said Casey Eaton had a previous dating relationship with the defendant and Giles had filed for custody of their daughter. Following a hearing on June 6, 2011, Casey Eaton was granted temporary custody.
Casey Eaton was asleep the night of Aug. 4, in the Harristown home, with the baby in a crib in the room and her 7-year-old daughter sleeping in a downstairs bedroom. Casey's mother, Cindanett, was sleeping downstairs and Lindsey was in another upstairs bedroom.
“Casey would testify that she was awakened because she heard some commotion,” Scott told the court. “She heard her sister screaming, 'Tim, Tim,' and walked to the stairs. She saw the defendant wearing a camouflage mask and black pants with a white stripe. She recognized him and recognized the pants because she bought them for him.”
She then saw a flash, heard a bang, and believed she was shot. Giles began stabbing her and she struggled with him. Her thumb was almost severed by Giles' knife.
“She ended up on the bed, bleeding from a neck wound,” Scott said. “She called 911. She identified the defendant. After the call he jumped on top of Casey and repeatedly stabbed her.”
During Scott's recitation of the facts of the attack, Giles alternately stared ahead and tightly closed his eyes.
Scott also gave a detailed report on police work which led to the apprehension of Giles by a special deputy U.S. Marshal at about 5:30 a.m. Aug. 5, less than five hours after the 911 call. The investigation, led by the Macon County Sheriff's Office, produced the murder weapons, as well as batting gloves and clothing which contained forensic evidence, including the victims' blood, identified by DNA processed at a crime lab. Giles' palm print was found on a bottle of bleach in a dumpster near a backpack containing the other items, including ammunition. Those items had been doused with bleach.
As part of the plea deal, charges of solicitation of murder against Giles were dropped. Giles allegedly tried to hire a fellow jail inmate to kill Casey Eaton after his arrest. Additional charges of home invasion, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated cruelty to animals were also dropped.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 4. Victims and their family members are expected to testify as to how Giles' crimes have affected their lives.
Katrina Giles, 23, Giles' sister, is also facing charges of first-degree murder, and the same additional charges, with the exception of solicitation.
Prosecutors and police allege that Katrina, a Mowequa resident, assisted Timothy Giles in the preparation of the attack on the three women and tried to establish an alibi for him.
Casey Eaton has recovered from her wounds, after suffering from many serious health problems as a result of the attack.
Katrina Giles is being held in the jail on $2 million bond. She is due in court for a pretrial hearing March 13.