Federal appeals court blocks executing man in Scout’s murder

By Dan Sewell - Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal appeals court has again ruled that Ohio can’t execute a man who is intellectually disabled and was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 12-year-old Boy Scout.

A three-judge 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled unanimously Wednesday that executing Danny Lee Hill would be unconstitutional under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The opinion recounted that multiple records demonstrating Hill’s mental struggles, including with even basic daily responsibilities such as remembering to take a shower or brush his teeth.

“We hold that Hill is intellectually disabled and that he cannot be sentenced to death. No person looking at this record could reasonably deny that Hill is intellectually disabled,” the opinion stated. “In holding otherwise, the Ohio courts avoided giving serious consideration to past evidence of Hill’s intellectual disability.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s office declined to comment Wednesday.

Hill, now 53, was sentenced to death for the 1985 slaying of Raymond Fife, who was riding his bicycle on his way to a Scout meeting in Warren, Ohio, when he was beaten, raped, set afire and left for dead. He died two days later.

The 6th Circuit also ruled in February 2018 that Hill shouldn’t be executed. After the state appealed, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that the 6th Circuit should reconsider the case because it had relied extensively on a case decided long after Hill was sentenced to death.


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By Dan Sewell

Associated Press