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Supreme Court won’t give Danny Lee Hill a new trial

WARREN — The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to grant Danny Lee Hill a new trial.

With the denial Monday, only one legal challenge to Hill’s conviction and death sentence remains, according to the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s office, which is “pleased” with the high court’s decision, according to a news release.

Hill’s attorneys asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s decision refusing to grant him a new trial, but, the court decided Monday to deny the petition.

Hill was sentenced to death after he was convicted in 1985 for the rape and aggravated murder of Raymond Fife, 12, of Warren. His co-defendant, Timothy Combs, died in prison at age 50 in 2018 while serving a life sentence. Combs was 17 when he and Hill, who was 18 at the time, stopped Fife on Sept. 10, 1985, in a wooded area near Palmyra Road SW, as the boy rode his bike to a Boy Scout meeting. Fife died two days later after he was beaten, sexually tortured, strangled with his underwear, set afire and left for dead. He was barely alive when he was found several hours later by his father and brother-in-law.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is still considering whether Hill qualifies for the death penalty — because of questions about his level of intelligence. The court heard arguments in December.

Because he was a few months shy of his 18th birthday, Combs was not eligible for the death penalty, as Hill was.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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