Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 8, 1987
Date of arrest: 3 days after
Date of birth: June 7, 1960
Victim profile: Sterleen Hill
Method of murder: Shooting (12-gauge shotgun)
Location: Yuma County, Arizona, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on January 18, 1988

Date of Birth: June 7, 1960
Defendant: Black
Victim: Black

Fred Robinson and Susan Hill lived together for a number of years. Beginning in 1984, Susan made several efforts to leave Robinson, but he always forced her to return.

In February 1987, Susan left Robinson for a week to visit her father, and stepmother, Sterleen Hill, in Yuma. After this visit, Susan went to California to live with other relatives and did not tell Robinson.

On June 8, 1987, Robinson decided to go to Yuma and bring Susan back. Robinson persuaded his friends, Washington and Jimmy Mathers to go with him. The men loaded Robinson's car with weapons and drove to Yuma. Washington was wearing a red bandanna.

Around 11:45 p.m., two men entered the Hills' home, forced Mr. and Mrs. Hill to lie on their bedroom floor, and tied them up. A black man wearing a red bandanna held a gun to Mr. Hill's head, then ransacked the drawers and closet while the second man stood over the Hills. One of the men shot the Hills with a 12-gauge shotgun. Mrs. Hill died from her wounds but Mr. Hill survived.

Washington, Robinson, and Mathers were tried jointly and each received the death penalty. On appeal the state supreme court reversed Mathers' conviction finding insufficient evidence to support the jury verdict.


    Presiding Judge: H. Stewart Bradshaw
    Prosecutor: William V. Gallo
    Start of Trial: December 1, 1987
    Verdict: December 15, 1987
    Sentencing: January 13, 1988

Aggravating Circumstances:

    Pecuniary gain     
    Especially heinous/cruel/depraved

Mitigating Circumstances:



    State v. Washington, 165 Ariz. 51, 796 P.2d 853 (1990).



Theodore Washington

Arizona's Death Row

What follows is a summation of the case as seen by the State of Arizona at the time of Trial

The story of how Theodore "Teddy" Washington ended up on Death Row is a complicated one. To understand him we first have to meet a man called Fred Robinson.

Fred Lawrence Robinson met Susan Hill in 1972 through a motorcycle club. Eventually she became his common-law wife and had three children by him. All was most definately not happy within the relationship, which can best be described as "stormy". Susan suffered a great deal of mental and physical abuse at the hands of Robinson and attempted to leave him a number of times. Robinson always tracked her down, however, and promised that he would one day deal with her so that she never left him.

In 1986 Susan was staying with her sister in North Hollywood. Two men entered the house and tied-up her sister and niece. Susan hid but was forced to come out when Robinson threatened the others. He said that if Susan did not return with him he would kill her.

At the time, Robinson was living in Banning, Southern California, a small town of just 20,000 souls.

This was also the time that Teddy was living in Banning, as well as another man, Jimmy Lee Mathers, who is another important player in the events that were to follow. Mathers had accompanied Robinson on one of his many trips to recover Susan, this time to Philadelphia, another time when Robinson threatened that "something would happen" to her if she did not comply to his demands.

A few weeks after this event, Susan persuaded Robinson that she should be allowed to visit her father and step-mother in Yuma, Arizona for a week. Amazingly, considering the history of this violent and volatile relationship, Robinson agreed. Ralph and Sterleen Hill, and their teenage son LeSean, were well aware of Robinson and his abusive nature and they managed to keep Susan in Arizona for almost a month. During this time Sterleen obtained a peace bond (the equivalent of a Court Injunction) against Robinson which barred him from entering the Hills' home. Susan informed Robinson of the order. After a month at the Hill family house Susan went to California to see her grandmother: crucially, she did not inform Robinson of her move.

On June 8th 1987 Robinson's son, Andre, heard Robinson, Mathers and Teddy - who was wearing a red bandana - discuss a trip to Arizona. Mathers said that he was going to "take care of some business". Later, with Teddy absent, Robinson and Mathers were seen putting guns into Robinson's car and then driving towards Washington's house. The trio were last seen in Banning at 6:30 that day driving Robinson's tan Chevette out of town.

Just before midnight on the same day someone knocked on the door of the Hills' Yuma home. When LeSean answered the door a man appeared and made a grab for him. LeSean ran away, through the house and, via another external door, out of the house. Ralph and Sterleen came out of their bedroom to investigate the noise and heard a deep voice shout "We're narcotics agents. We want the dope and the money". Ralph could only see shadows of the people who had just invaded his home, he could not identify faces.

The Hills were bundled back into their room and forced to lie face down on the floor, where they were tied up. The intruders, one wearing a red bandana, then ransacked the bedroom cupboards and drawers. After this Ralph was rendered unconscious.

Meanwhile, LeSean had telephoned the police from a neighbour's house. A few moments later he noticed a tan Chevette speeding away from the area. When the police later pulled the car over they found Robinson driving, along with a shotgun shell-box, a red bandana and some of Mather's clothing. When the police eventually entered the Hills' home they found that Ralph and Sterleen had been shot with a 12-guage shotgun. Although he had massive injuries and lost an eye, Ralph survived. Sterleen, though, was dead.

A shotgun was found near the scene. Andre Robinson later recognised it as the one he had seen being put into the back of his father's car earlier that day. Robinson was arrested that evening.

Mathers was spotted in Coachella, California, the following day and returned to Arizona, where he was arrested. Teddy returned to Banning and was arrested the day after Mathers.

At the trial all three defendants were found guilty of murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, burglary and armed robbery, during which trial the State contended that Mathers had fired the shots.

In addition, forensic analysis showed that the red bandana, supposed to belong to Washington, contained traces of Mathers' hair. All were sentenced to death. On appeal, this judgement was later reversed for Mathers.


Theodore Washington



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