Family of 11-year-old accused of murdering 8-year-old girl says he's innocent

WHITE PINE, Tenn. (WVLT)- An 11-year-old boy accused of shooting and killing his 8-year-old neighbor will spend Thanksgiving in the Knox County Juvenile Detention Center.

But the boy's family says he's innocent.

They sat down with Local 8 News Tuesday.

The family gave WVLT permission to release the name of the boy because they believe he is innocent.

Benny Tiller,11, has been charged with first degree murder.

Deputies say on October 3rd he shot Mckayla Dyer after she wouldn't let him see her puppies.

Tuesday, Benny's great grandparents tell us that's not the full story.

"Benny has his own puppies he had two of them," sad his Great Grandfather, Jack Houchins.

Jack and his wife Dianna visit Benny once a week.

"His pants are so long they have to roll them way up several times. He's got chains on him, little kid has chains on him," said Jack.

They stand behind his story.

"He brought a pistol bb gun out first. Then he went back into the closet and got a shotgun and got it out and handed it to the girl (Mckayla's sister) and this is what Benny says: she took the gun and said 'this is cool' and pointed it at the sister and shot her," said Jack.

But deputies say a witness told them Benny shot Mckayla after she wouldn't show him her puppy.

"One witness. There's no other evidence. That's why we've come forward. This is it just one person, one testimony," said Dianna.

Benny has been in custody since the shooting more than a month ago.

"He was shaking and crying so much in the court room that they had to hold him. He said why am I going to jail when I didn't even do this?"

Friends of Mckayla told Local 8 News in October that Benny had bullied her.

"She was a happy little girl she was just always smiling she was quiet but always had a big smile on her face she was respectful," said Mitsy Edwards.

Mourning the loss of the little girl they didn't want to talk on Tuesday about the case.

"I'm going to miss her a lot," said her friend Hannah.

Benny's family is blaming the authorities for what they say is a big mistake.

"These men will stop at nothing to prove that they don't have to say that they're wrong. It's all about politics," said Dianna.

But in the end a little 8-year-old girl's life was taken way to soon.

We asked the Deputy District Attorney, Brownlow Marsh on Tuesday if Mckayla's sister was considered a suspect. He said he couldn't comment because it's under investigation. Benny Tiller is due back in court on December 16th.

Benny's mother and father no longer live in White Pine, their custody of Benny and his 5 siblings were taken away after this incident. Those siblings are now in the care of the Houchins.