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Florida v. Hill: 1994

Appeals For A "martyr"

Under Florida law, Hill's sentence was automatically appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. Hill again wanted to act as his own attorney during this process, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled against him. At one point, Hill said he did not want to appeal the conviction at all, and noted that if he were executed, "I think you could justifiably call me a martyr." In 1997, the Florida high court unanimously upheld Hill's state conviction, and as of this writing he is awaiting execution on Florida's Death Row.

Some pro-choice forces believed that Hill's death sentence would deter future acts of violence against abortion providers. But the attacks continued, including the murder of two Boston abortion clinic workers in December 1994 and bombing attacks against clinics in various cities, including Atlanta and Birmingham. Pro-choice forces have called for increased prosecutions under FACE and more police protection of clinics. Supporters of abortion rights were also disappointed in 1996, when the FBI decided the anti-abortion violence was not part of a vast conspiracy. In the meantime, some pro-life groups have disavowed the use of extreme violence to espouse their cause.

Michael Burgan

Suggestions for Further Reading

"Death Sentence for Abortion-Doc Killer." Newsday (December 7, 1994): A7.

"Florida High Court Upholds Death for Abortion Shooter." Reuters (March 6, 1997).

Kuntz, Tom. "From Thought to Deed: In the Mind of a Killer Who Says He Served God." New York Times (September 24, 1995): IV, 7.

Navarro, Mireya. "Abortion Foe Is Guilty of Murder in Deaths of Two at a Florida Clinic." New York Times (November 3, 1994): Al.

Risen, James and Judy L. Thomas. Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War. New York: BasicBooks, 1998.

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