A Henrico County man accused of killing his girlfriend pleaded no contest Wednesday to second-degree murder.

William Davis Tiller, 43, also pleaded no contest in Henrico Circuit Court to a charge of using a firearm while shooting Tammy Jo Clifton, in her home in the 6500 block of Engel Road on Nov. 23.

Stacey Davenport, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Henrico, said Tiller, Clifton and the victim’s two children had been living together at the home at the time of the killing.

They all had been in a room watching television when Clifton got up around 5:30 or 6 p.m. to make something to eat in the kitchen, Davenport said.

Tiller was angry Clifton had been communicating with other men, and he went over to get a gun from a closet, Davenport said. He walked to the kitchen and gunshots rang out, authorities said.

Tiller called his parents, who came over to the house, Davenport said. The defendant’s mother took the children, ages 7 and 5, across the street to where Clifton’s sister lived, according to the prosecutor.

One of the children said Tiller shot their mom, and the sister went over to the home to find Clifton lying on the kitchen floor and called 911, Davenport said.

Tiller left the scene in a vehicle with his parents, Davenport said.

The medical examiner’s office said the victim died from a gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen, the prosecutor said.

Shannon Dillon, Tiller’s attorney, said the victim and the defendant had been arguing for an extended period of time before the shooting.

Dillon said the gun went off when the victim lunged for the weapon.

Tiller was originally charged with first-degree murder in Clifton’s killing.

The maximum punishment for a second-degree murder charge is 40 years in prison, while the weapons charge carries a mandatory three-year prison term.

Tiller will be sentenced on Jan. 11.

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