(WKBN) – The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has filed a petition after the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided a convicted murderer cannot be put to death.
Danny Lee Hill was convicted in the 1985 rape, torture and murder of 12-year-old Raymond Fife. He was sentenced to death but has fought that sentence, claiming developmental disabilities.
Over the years, several decisions have been made from different courts.
In 2018, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal court’s decision that upheld Hill’s death sentence. Then the case went to the Supreme Court in January 2019, which decided a federal appeals court needed to take another look at the case.
Then in June 2019, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to review Hill’s appeal, upholding his death sentence.
However, on May 20 of this year, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the death sentence could not be carried out.
Raymond Fife’s mother, Miriam, has been fighting for justice for her son for decades and says she doesn’t plan to stop.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins has also worked the case at the state level. He said, “Miriam and I, we’re gonna go to the last inning and take the last swing.”
On Thursday, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a petition for a review of the court’s most recent decision.
The petition states, “The panel did exactly what the Supreme Court told it not to do: rather than relying on ‘legal rules that were clearly established’ by Supreme Court decisions ‘at the relevant time,’ the panel awarded relief based on principles supposedly established by state-court decisions—principles that relevant Supreme Court precedent did not establish, clearly or otherwise.”
The petition also gives a detailed account of the murder of Raymond Fife, stating, “More than 30 years ago, Danny Hill and a friend captured Raymond Fife—a 12-year-old boy—while Fife was biking to a friend’s house.”
It goes on to detail the rape and sodomy of Raymond, how he was strangled with his own underwear and set on fire before being left for dead.
Raymond was thrown in a field, where his father eventually found him alive. He lived for two days before passing away.
“There are no words to describe the horror Raymond endured. And for anyone with children, it is horrifying,” the petition states.
“I have an obligation to the victim, to the judges, to the jurors who decided this to push on,” Watkins said.
During a 2018 interview with WKBN, Watkins said he believed not enough credit was given to witnesses, including mental health experts, who determined Hill was not disabled, which he still feels is true.