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Florida v. Hill: 1994

Two Fast Trials

Hill's actions prompted the FBI to investigate whether the growing anti-abortion violence was part of a larger conspiracy. The Britton/Barrett murders also led to Hill's arrest under FACE, as well as state charges of murder, attempted murder, and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Hill's federal trial began in October 1994, and he chose to act as his own attorney. The judge denied Hill's attempt to argue that the murders were justifiable homicides to prevent the murder of unborn children. Stripped of his defense, Hill did not call or cross-examine any witnesses. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison. However, Hill faced an even stiffer sentence on the state charges—the death penalty.

His state trial drew the most public attention. As in the first trial, Hill represented himself and again tried to introduce a defense of justifiable homicide. Judge Frank Bell could only rule against him, since abortion is a legal procedure. Once again, Hill did not call any witnesses or offer any other defense. The trial ran just three days, and the jury needed only 20 minutes to convict him on two counts of first-degree murder as well as the other two charges.

After the trial, federal prosecutors said they would allow the state's punishment to take precedence over Hill's sentence for the FACE conviction. On November 3, the jury recommended that Hill die in the electric chair. Judge Bell, noting that Hill had no sense of remorse and that he had "look [ed] at what he accomplished with pride and satisfaction," agreed with the sentence.

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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