Danny Lee Hill decision being appealed by Ohio AG

Staff report


The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has asked the 16 judges of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals here to overturn the Feb. 2 ruling of a panel of three of those judges that overturned Danny Lee Hill’s death sentence.

The appeal is discretionary, meaning the 6th Circuit does not have to hear the appeal. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office handles appeals at the federal level, not the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office.

The three-judge 6th Circuit panel affirmed Hill’s 1986 conviction in the brutal, 1985 aggravated murder and rape of Raymond Fife, 12, as the boy rode his bicycle along a path off of Palmyra Road Southwest to a Boy Scouts meeting.

But it overturned Hill’s sentence on the issue of whether Hill was too intellectually disabled to qualify for the death penalty.

The appeal says the three-judge panel erred in relying on “its own lay assessment of the evidence rather than that of the [three] experts” who testified at a hearing in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court in 2008 before a visiting judge.

Miriam Fife, mother of Raymond Fife and a former longtime victim-witness advocate for Trumbull County, said she is pleased that the attorney general’s office is trying to overturn the Feb. 2 opinion.

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