Columbus, OH – A man who was convicted of the torture, rape and murder of a 12-year-old boy scout in 1985 was spared the death penalty after an appeals court ruled he could be considered “mentally deficient.”
The U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals ruled that Danny Hill cannot be sentenced to the death penalty due to his intellectual deficiencies, according to WFMJ-TV. The ruling upheld Hill's conviction on the murder charge.
The court ruling stated that Hill’s IQ varied between a low of 49 and high of 71. The court reviewed videotapes of Hill’s interrogation by police and said he was “childlike, confused, often irrational, and primarily self-defeating,” according to WFMJ.
The case was sent back to the lower court so Hill could be resentenced.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins stated he would ask the Attorney General’s Officer to appeal the ruling.
The mother of Hill’s 12-year-old victim said she supports appealing the ruling.
"When my husband passed away the one thing he said was I'll never get to see him die for what he did," said Miriam Fife. "It's not a vengeance I have against him, I just want to know years after I'm gone (that) some bleeding heart doesn't get in there and get him released, because I don't care if he's 80 or 90-years-old, if he's still alive he'll be doing the same thing, he'll be hurting children."
Raymond Fife disappeared in September of 1985. His family searched for him and found him naked, severely beaten with his face burned.
The 12-year-old boy died in the hospital two days later.
Hill was caught after he went to the Warren Police Station to ask about a $5,000 reward for information concerning the murder.
Police picked up that Hill may have been involved by the information he revealed to them, according to WFMJ.
Eventually, Hill admitted to police on audio and video tape that he was present during the beating and sexual assault of Raymond Fife.
Hill told police Timothy Combs was the attacker. Combs was later convicted of the crime and was not eligible for the death penalty because he was 17 at the time. Combs is eligible for parole in 2049.
Hill was also convicted of numerous crimes including arson, rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder and was 18 and was sentenced to death. Hill had appealed the death penalty numerous times.