TRUMBULL CO., Ohio (WKBN) – The mother of a Warren boy killed in 1985 says she is disappointed in an appeals court ruling that her son’s killer cannot be executed.
Danny Lee Hill was convicted of the rape, torture and murder of 12-year-old Raymond Fife.
For nearly 35 years, Hill has sat on death row, filing appeals and fighting his death sentence.
Miriam Fife commented on the Sixth Court of Appeals’ recent ruling that Hill can’t be executed due to his mental capacity.
“I’m just really disappointed, my family is disappointed and we were hoping to get a final decision and get this over with, but we will push to go forward with anything the attorney general feels is necessary,” Fife said.
WKBN spoke with Fife last year about her disappointment in a legal system that kept her son’s killer on death row for so long. Hill isn’t the only inmate who has been sitting on death row for decades, though.
For years after her son’s murder, Fife worked in the justice system as a victim witness advocate for the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office.
She has since retired but still fights for justice for her son.
“We should fight it,” Fife said. “I’d like to give up right now and just say, ‘Forget it,’ you know? I’d like nothing better than to stop this thing that my family has to go through but we can’t stop now because we’re right…We should keep going until we can’t go any further.”
This ruling does not necessarily mean it’s over. There are other steps that can be taken to fight to reverse this decision. It’s not clear at this time whether or not those steps will be taken.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins does not agree with the decision. He sent out a press release Thursday which stated, “The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision of May 20, 2020 failed to follow the legal standards spelled out by the unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court that remanded the case to correct their mistakes from their last decision.”
It went on to say, “We are hopeful that Attorney General Dave Yost and Solicitor General Ben Flowers will pursue additional appeals that will afford the United States Supreme Court to again correct the mistakes made by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
All of the evidence cited by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals had been evaluated by our state trial judge in appellate courts who relied on all of the evidence as well as the conclusions of two of three experts to decide that Hill did not meet the definition of intellectual disability.”