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Zane Brown HILL

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 10, 1990
Date of birth: May 9, 1936
Victim profile: Randy Hill, 29 (his son)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Buncombe County, North Carolina, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in North Carolina on August 14, 1998
 
 
 
 
 

United States Court of Appeals
For the Fourth Circuit

 
opinion 97-13
 
 
 
 
 
 

Zane Brown Hill, 62, of Buncombe County, died at 2:24 a.m. strapped to a gurney and covered with a powder blue sheet in the death chamber at Central Prison. The execution began at 2:01 a.m. and although prison officials said it took a little longer than usual, no explanation was given.

"God rest his soul," said defense lawyer Harold Bender just after prison Warden James French announced Hill's death to 13 witnesses who watched the execution through a glass window.

Death penalty opponents and Hill's lawyers had lobbied Gov. Jim Hunt for clemency. They said the case was tailor-made for commutation to life because Hill had been offered a 2nd-degree murder plea bargain.

But Hunt said he rejected the clemency petition because of Hill's "long history of terrorizing his wife and children with guns" and because he had threatened to kill his wife and shot his 29-year-old son, Randall, twice in the back.

The shooting occurred when Hill came to his wife's house in violation of a restraining order and his son held a gun on him while calling police. Hill claimed self defense, but the jury rejected the plea and deliberated about 30 minutes before convicting him. Evidence showed Hill had consumed beer and pain killers earlier and hit his wife in the head with a gun when she tried to help her son.

"Tonight, I saw an old man die," Bender said after leaving the prison. "It should not have happened. But the state's machinery of death prevailed. Right now, I'm not very proud to be a North Carolinian." Bender had filed an appeal Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a review on grounds that prosecutors hadn't shared all their files with Hill's defense lawyer. The court rejected the plea.

Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore said that as he watched the execution he was struck with how peaceful it was and how violent Hill's crime had been on New Year's Day 1990.

"It would not bother me for 12 jurors trying one of my cases to see what I saw tonight," Moore said. The prosecutor also said it took courage for Hunt to deny clemency because of pressure from vocal death penalty opponents.

Outside the prison, about 50 death penalty protesters prayed during a candelight vigil. Many said they were disappointed Hunt didn't commute the death sentence.

"I'm disappointed, but it's something I almost expect from the powers that be," said Paul Colbert of Raleigh. "It just seems things are so entrenched that nobody wants to hear a different point of view."

Hill's wife, Bonnie, visited her husband during the day along with their daughter and a son. Hill also visited with a minister and his attorneys.

Sources: Associated Press, Rick Halperin

 
 

Hill's execution - August 14, 1998

The lethal injection was administered at 2:01 a.m., and he was declared dead at 2:24 a.m.

Hill's last words - August 14, 1998

Hill made no final remarks.

Hill's last meal - August 13, 1998

Hill ate a special last meal around 5:30 PM that included two whoppers (hamburgers) with lettuce and tomato and a coke.

Hill moved to death watch - August 12, 1998

Hill was moved from death row to Central Prison's death watch area around 6:10 PM, August 12. The death watch area is adjacent to the execution chamber and is located in the prison's custody control building.

Hill selects lethal injection - August 10, 1998

Inmate Hill selected execution by lethal injection. Hill notified the warden of Central Prison that he would prefer to die by lethal injection. If the inmate does not ask for lethal injection, the execution is carried out with lethal gas.

Lethal gas has been used to execute North Carolina inmates since 1936. Lethal injection was made an option in 1983.

Witnesses selected for execution - August 10, 1998

Central Prison Warden James French named six official witnesses and five media witnesses for the August 14 execution of Zane Brown Hill.

The official witnesses are District Attorney Ronald Moore, Assistant District Attorney Kate Dreher, Deputy Sam Constance, Detective Michael Wilburn Wright, Captain Patrick Winfield Hefner and Lt. James Ruben Medford, Jr.

Media witnesses are Paul Clark, The Asheville Citizen Times; Kirsten Mitchell, The Hendersonville Times News; Frank Kracher, WLOS-TV, Asheville; John Tkach, WPTF Radio, Raleigh; and Estes Thompson from the Associated Press.

Under the Department of Correction policy, the district attorney and sheriff in the county of conviction nominated the six official witnesses. These witnesses may include members of the victimís family. A 1997 amendment to state statute ensures the crime victimís family the right to witness the execution.

The Radio Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas selected the broadcast reporters and the N.C. Press Association selected the two print reporters. Following the execution, the media witnesses are required to relate their experience to other reporters immediately in Central Prisonís visitor center.

 
 

Zane Hill had a long history of terrorizing his wife and children with guns before New Year's Day, 1990 when he threatened to kill his wife and shot his 29-year-old son, Randy Hill, twice in the back. 

The shooting occurred when Hill came to his wife's house in violation of a restraining order and his son held a gun on him while calling police. Hill claimed self defense, but the jury rejected the plea and deliberated about 30 minutes before convicting him. Evidence showed Hill had consumed beer and pain killers earlier and hit his wife in the head with a gun when she tried to help her son.

 
 


 

Man Executed for Murder of His Son

WRAL.com

Aug 13, 1998

A man who killed his son during a drunken rage in 1990 went quietly to his death by lethal injection today without opening his eyes or making a last statement.

Zane Brown Hill, 62, of Buncombe County, died at 2:24 a.m. strapped to a gurney and covered with a powder blue sheet in the death chamber at Central Prison. The execution began at 2:01 a.m. and although prison officials said it took a little longer than usual, no explanation was given.

"God rest his soul,'' said defense lawyer Harold Bender just after prison Warden James French announced Hill's death to 13 witnesses who watched the execution through a glass window.

Death penalty opponents and Hill's lawyers had lobbied Gov. Jim Hunt for clemency. They said the case was tailor-made for commutation to life because Hill had been offered a second-degree murder plea bargain.

But Hunt said he rejected the clemency petition because of Hill's "long history of terrorizing his wife and children with guns'' and because he had threatened to kill his wife and shot his 29-year-old son, Randall, twice in the back.

The shooting occurred when Hill came to his wife's house in violation of a restraining order and his son held a gun on him while calling police. Hill claimed self defense, but the jury rejected the plea and deliberated about 30 minutes before convicting him. Evidence showed Hill had consumed beer and pain killers earlier and hit his wife in the head with a gun when she tried to help her son.

"Tonight, I saw an old man die,'' Bender said after leaving the prison. "It should not have happened. But the state's machinery of death prevailed. Right now, I'm not very proud to be a North Carolinian.''

Bender had filed an appeal Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a review on grounds that prosecutors hadn't shared all their files with Hill's defense lawyer. The court rejected the plea.

Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore said that as he watched the execution he was struck with how peaceful it was and how violent Hill's crime had been on New Year's Day 1990.

"It would not bother me for 12 jurors trying one of my cases to see what I saw tonight,'' Moore said. The prosecutor also said it took courage for Hunt to deny clemency because of pressure from vocal death penalty opponents.

Outside the prison, about 50 death penalty protesters prayed during a candelight vigil. Many said they were disappointed Hunt didn't commute the death sentence.

"I'm disappointed, but it's something I almost expect from the powers that be,'' said Paul Colbert of Raleigh. "It just seems things are so entrenched that nobody wants to hear a different point of view.''

Hill's wife, Bonnie, visited her husband during the day along with their daughter and a son. Hill also visited with a minister and his attorneys and had two large hamburgers with lettuce and tomato and a bottled soft drink for his last meal.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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