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High court affirms: Danny Lee Hill can be executed

Published: Wed, August 26, 2009 @ 5:55 p.m.

WARREN — The Ohio Supreme Court has refused to review a decision by a visiting common pleas court judge, who has ruled that Danny Lee Hill is eligible for the death penalty.

The top court said Wednesday in a 5-2 vote that it agreed with Judge Thomas P. Curran of Cuyahoga County, sitting on assignment in Trumbull County, that Hill is not mentally retarded.

That decision exhausts Hill’s state appeals and sends Hill’s case back to the federal court system, said LuWayne Annos, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor.

Hill’s appeal of his death sentence was at the federal court level when the U.S. Supreme Court said in 2002 that it is inhumane to execute the mentally retarded. That sent Hill’s case back to Trumbull County for a determination of whether he is retarded.

Annos declined to estimate how much longer it might take for the federal courts to review Hill’s case so that an execution date can be set.

Hill, 42, of Warren, was sentenced to death in 1986 at age 19 for the 1985 torture and murder of Raymond Fife, 12, who was beaten, raped, impaled, strangled and burned.

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