Tuesday, August 12, 2008

June 6, 2006

...he had a bullet hole through the roof of his mouth and an exit wound in the top of his skull...

Last Meal: Hall had a final meal request of meatloaf, corn on the cob, garlic bread, a beef burrito, a Mexican pizza, a taco, cake, ice cream, garden salad with tomatoes and ranch dressing, and Pepsi.

The skinny:Hall was executed for killing three people in a Department of Social Services office in 1996.

More skinny: Hill went on the shooting spree after his wife asked for a divorce and a social worker accused him of molesting a child. He lost custody of his children and blamed state workers.

Hill walked into the social services office and shot to death his family's case worker and two other employees after losing custody of his children.

At the time, Hill was married and had three children: a three-year-old daughter who was a quadriplegic from a traffic accident, and twin two-year-old boys. After their daughter's ordeal, Hill was sent into a world of depression, seizures and panic attacks. DSS had become involved with the family because of concern about the parents’ abuse of prescription drugs. The children were eventually removed from the home.

Hill overdosed twice on antidepressants and muscle relaxers in the spring of 1996. After social workers said they wanted him out of the house, Hill barricaded himself inside with a shotgun, later spent several days in a mental hospital and was ordered by the state to stay away from his family.

Hill was found a day later in a wooded area, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had a bullet hole through the roof of his mouth and an exit wound in the top of his skull.

Although he was seriously injured, Hill was able to speak. After he was taken to the hospital, he was given Miranda warnings. Hill admitted to the shootings. He said he first shot the man in the restroom because he had seen him. He also shot his caseworker. He shot the last, a woman, “because she was black.”

Last words and such: Hill, clad in a dark green prison uniform and strapped to a gurney, briefly turned his head toward the witnesses, then trained his eyes on the ceiling of the brick-walled chamber.

Hill’s lawyer read a statement from Hill that said he was sorry for the killings and hoped his victims’ relatives would find peace. “"I sincerely apologize to the families. I am very sorry for the pain that my actions caused to them. Hopefully, my decision to have this sentence carried out without delay will help you understand the sincerity of my apology and will provide you with some closure. To those of you who have expressed forgiveness to me, I thank you. For those of you who have been unable or unwilling to forgive me, I pray that today will provide you with the peace you deserve.”

When the attorney finished speaking, a tube that ran from Hill’s outstretched left arm to the wall behind his head began to move and liquid could be seen flowing through it. Two minutes later, Hill’s breathing became labored, and he then took one large gasp, his chest heaving upward. Hill’s mouth then dropped open, and, within a minute, color drained from his face. Eleven minutes later, Hill was pronounced dead.

Relatives of the victims sat in the front row of the viewing area outside the death chamber and showed no visible reaction to the execution. They declined to comment. Representatives of law enforcement and the solicitor's office were also present.

Factoids: Hall was the...

5th murderer executed in U.S. in 2008
1104th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in South Carolina in 2008
38th murderer executed in South Carolina since 1976

Hill was the 279th person put to death in South Carolina history.

A handful of death penalty protesters held a vigil outside the prison where the death chamber is housed.