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Jeffrey D. HILL





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Crack cocaine addict
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 23, 1991
Date of arrest: 3 days after (surrenders)
Date of birth: April 7, 1964
Victim profile: Emma Hill, 61 (his mother)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on June 19, 1992. Commuted to life in prison in 2009

photo gallery


clemency report


On 3/23/91, Hill murdered his 61-year-old mother, Emma Hill, in her Cincinnati apartment.

After getting into an argument with his mother over the frequency of his visits, he stabbed her 10 times in the chest and back. He then stole $20 and left in her car.

After spending the money on crack cocaine, he returned to his mother's apartment and stole another $80 from her. Hill confessed to the police three days later.


Remorseful killer granted mercy

Clemency means Jeffrey Hill could eventually be paroled

By Tom Beyerlein, Laura A. Bischoff - Dayton Daily News

Sunday, February 22, 2009

YOUNGSTOWN Jeffrey Hill said he dropped out of school after the ninth grade to take care of his mother, who had been partially paralyzed by a stroke.

Two years ago, he fulfilled a promise to her by getting his GED.

Hill said he loved his mother, Emma Dee Hill, very much. He stabbed her to death one Saturday morning in 1991.

Hill, 44, narrowly avoided a March 3 date with the executioner when Gov. Ted Strickland, following an 8-0 recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board, granted him clemency on Feb. 12. Strickland reduced the death sentence to 25 years to life, meaning Hill could eventually be paroled.

A crack cocaine addict at the time, Hill stabbed his mother 10 times after an argument, then stole $20 and left to buy drugs. He later returned to the bloody scene, smoked crack in the bathroom and stole another $80.

Hill was born in 1964 and grew up in Cincinnati with his mother and brother. His father deserted the family when Hill was a small child. His grandfather, who acted as a surrogate father, died when Hill was about 10.

"I ended up running with the wrong crowd," he said in a death row interview with the Dayton Daily News on Jan. 27. His first of many brushes with the law came at age 14, when he was charged with juvenile delinquency by reason of aggravated robbery. He also had a juvenile assault offense.

He had a few minor theft and marijuana cases through the years, but his relatives said he was usually employed and leading a responsible life. He reconnected with his father and he and his girlfriend started a family, two daughters and a stepdaughter.

Hill's stability crumbled when his father died of cancer in 1990 and he turned to crack cocaine. "I thought that I always could control it," he said, but his addiction "got worse and worse."

Later that year, he got probation for drug abuse and carrying a concealed weapon, a nine-inch switchblade.

On Saturday, March 26, 1991, Hill visited his 61-year-old mother's apartment, high on crack. He later told police she complained that he didn't visit her often enough. They argued and "the next thing I know, she's laying on the floor." He had stabbed her repeatedly with a kitchen knife.

As a dying Emma Hill asked, "Why? Why did you do it?," Hill rummaged through her things, looking for money to buy more crack. He was arrested hours later in her car.

Hill's subsequent conviction and death sentence stood up to multiple appeals through the years. But the parole board was swayed by his remorse, the poor defense he received before sentencing and a campaign by his relatives who are also the kin of his victim to spare his life.

"If it's going to bring my sister back, go ahead and take his life," said Hill's uncle and Emma Hill's brother, Eddie Sanders of Cincinnati. "But it's not going to bring my sister back. What's done is done. There's always time to stop the killing."

Hill's public defenders told the board about a similar homicide in 1992, also in Hamilton County, in which the defendant was charged with a lesser offense, served his sentence and is already free from prison.

Hill, interviewed before the clemency was granted, said he didn't want to be executed because, "I don't want to cause my family any more pain because of my actions. It all comes back to my actions."

"I made a conscious decision to do drugs," he said. "Because of that choice, my mother isn't here today, my kids don't have a grandmother. I can't make any excuses for that."


Death Row inmate Jeffrey Hill should get clemency, Ohio Parole Board votes

The Plain Dealer

February 06, 2009

COLUMBUS The Ohio Parole Board today recommended unanimously that Gov. Ted Strickland spare a death row inmate whose entire family -- which is also the family of his victim -- opposes his execution.

The board voted 8-0 in favor of mercy for Jeffrey Hill, who killed his mother in 1991 in a crack-cocaine induced rage, according to a copy of the board recommendation obtained by the Associated Press.

The board recommends that Strickland commute Hill's sentence to life in prison with parole eligibility after 25 years.

Hill is scheduled to be executed March 3 for killing Emma Hill during a robbery that netted $100. Her surviving brothers and sisters oppose Hill's execution, as did Emma Hill's mother.

Ohio prison officials say it's the first time an inmate facing death for killing a family member has unanimous backing from his family as he fights execution.

The board cited the "compelling and unanimous opinion of victim Emma Hill's family who favor clemency in this case," the report said. "They have suffered tremendous loss, and execution would add further to their suffering."

The board also says Hill has shown genuine remorse for his crime and said the death sentence was not proportionate to punishments for similar crimes where someone killed his mother or father.

"The Board does not consider this offense and offender the 'worst of the worse' as in other death penalty cases," the board said.

Strickland will review the case thoroughly before making a decision, spokeswoman Amanda Wurst said Friday.

A message was left with the Hamilton County Prosecutor's office seeking comment.

Strickland commuted the death sentence of condemned killer John Spirko last year out of concern over evidence in the case and the possibility he didn't commit the murder he was convicted of.

Strickland has allowed four other executions to proceed.

The board's recommendation was the first unanimous decision in favor of clemency since the state resumed executions in 1999.

It's also the first time the board recommended an alternative sentence of less than life without the possibility of parole.



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