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Florida v. Hill: 1994

Killing At The Clinic

In the following months, Hill became a familiar figure at Pensacola's Ladies Center Clinic, where abortions were performed. As doctors and clinicians worked inside, Hill, using a child's voice, sometimes screamed "Mommy, Mommy, don't murder me!" Clinic workers wanted Hill arrested under a new federal law, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance (FACE) Act. The law had been passed in the wake of the 1993 Gunn killing. The Justice Department, however, was not willing to use Hill's actions as the first court test of FACE. After another protest, Hill was arrested by local authorities for disturbing the peace, but once again federal officials declined to prosecute under FACE.

On July 29, 1994, Hill returned to the Ladies Center Clinic. This time he did more than shout. At about 7:30 A.M., Dr. John Britton arrived at the clinic with two escorts, 74-year-old Jim Barrett and his 68-year-old wife, June. Jim Barrett was acting as a bodyguard for Dr. Britton, 69, who performed abortions at various clinics in northern Florida including the Pensacola Ladies Center Clinic. As the three prepared to leave their vehicle, Hill pulled out a newly purchased Mossberg shotgun. Hill shot and killed Jim Barrett, reloaded, then fired again, killing Dr. Britton and severely wounding Mrs. Barrett. Hill then put down his gun and walked away. Moments later, he offered no resistance when police apprehended him. Hill told the officers, "I know one thing. No innocent babies are going to be killed in that clinic today."

Anti-abortion activist Paul Hill. (AP/Wide World Photos) Anti-abortion activist Paul Hill. (AP/Wide World Photos)

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994Florida v. Hill: 1994 - Killing At The Clinic, Two Fast Trials, Appeals For A "martyr", Suggestions For Further Reading