Attorney General appealing decision to keep Warren child killer off death row

Danny Lee Hill's attorneys say he is mentally deficient and should not have gotten the death penalty

Danny Lee Hill was convicted in the attack, rape and murder of 12-year-old Raymond Fife in Warren in 1986.

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is appealing a decision by the U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals that would keep a man convicted in the brutal murder and sexual assault of a child off of death row.

The Attorney General’s Office filed the appeal Friday, seeking a review of the ruling by the three-judge panel that determined that Danny Lee Hill was too mentally deficient to face the death penalty.

Raymond Fife was 12 years old when he was killed in Warren. His mother last saw him alive on Sept. 10, 1985 when he left on his bike and headed to a Boy Scout meeting.

Prosecutors and police say Danny Lee Hill, who was 18 at the time, and Timothy Combs, who was 17, attacked, raped, tortured and murdered Fife.

Both were convicted of aggravated murder and several other charges. Since Combs was a juvenile he was sentenced to life in prison. Hill was sent to death row.

Hill’s attorneys, however, have filed numerous motions saying his IQ is low and he is too intellectually disabled to be executed. A federal appeals court agreed with them earlier this month.

DeWine claims the judges disregarded important testimony about Hill’s intellectual ability. Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said that not enough credit was given to witnesses, including mental health experts, who determined Hill was not disabled. One witness testified that a person who IS mentally disabled would not call a press conference, as Hill did.


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