Monday, October 11, 2010

280-Pounder Freed To Kill Women Instead Of Serving 1 Year Sentence

McLennan DA's office agreed to plea bargain in spite of violent past

When police officers arrived at Keith Hill's Hewitt apartment on New Year's 2008, they found the 280-pound truck driver cowering in the bathroom.

He had just knocked his wife Janice over a dresser, blacked her eyes and struck her with a weapon, an act that netted him a felony charge of aggravated assault.

The Hewitt officer who responded noted the bedroom door had been broken open and Mrs. Hill was on the floor suffering from older injuries she had sustained in a previous auto accident. They had fought the night before at a party When they locked horns again that morning, he locked himself in his bedroom and she splintered the door jamb to get at him.

It was nothing new, according to an in-law who told Dallas news reporters 11 months later on Nov. 11 after he killed her and his mother-in-law at their east Dallas home, then turned the rifle on himself.

“She was young and in love...He would beat the hell out of her,” said Mrs. Hill's uncle, John Heuss, who lived across the street. He stood vigil on the women's front porch with his own rifle several nights before the fatal assault took place.

He was a furniture delivery driver; she was a Child Protective Services case worker for the State of Texas.

Together, they lived a chaotic on-again, off-again life of domestic violence, part of a pattern of violent offenses that started when Mr. Hill was still a juvenile growing up in the area, where he attended Waco High School. She often retreated to her mother's Dallas home, but visits to his dwelling seemed to always end the same way, with her injured and calling for police protection.

Said a Dallas Police Homicide Detective, Lt. Craig Miller, "You just have to wonder what could possibliy bring you to this point, to not only take your own life but to take two defenseless people's lives."

When Keith Hill got to District Court in McLennan County on the aggravated assault charge from the New Year's day fight in Hewitt, Assistant DA Mark Parker made a decision to let him plead guilty to domestic violence assault, causes bodily harm, a misdemeanor offense.

He was sentenced to a year in the County Jail, the sentence suspended, and he was sent to a group therapy course, an anti-domestic violece school, and fined.

Then he moved to Grand Prairie where Mrs. Hill visited him and he tried to take her rings away from her by force. When she put them in her mouth, he choked and shook her so violently, slapping her and bruising her face, she nearly swallowed them.

Once more, she hid out at her mother's Dallas home under a protective order where he stalked her by cell phone, calling repeatedly.

When he arrived on the morning of Nov. 11, he forced his way inside, shot her and her 52-year-old mother, Jeanne Carroll, then turned the gun on himself.

Ms. Carroll's mother, a frail 85-year-old woman, found the three of them dead when she arrived home a short time later.

A funeral director arranged to have his remains cremated and the ashes scattered over Galveston Beach by his own request.

His mother published this remembrance in the newspaper in June of this year on what would have been his 28th birthday:

“Happy birthday my love, you came into my life on a Tuesday, so this day would have been extra special for us. I miss you so very much, and my love for you will never fade. If there are birthday parties in heaven I hope all the greats are with you today. I love you so much my Baby Bear. Love always. - Mom”


  1. Legendary,
    If he received a one year probated sentence, why was his probation not revoked as soon as the protective order was issued? This is a curious case indeed.

  2. Thank you for your interest. It's a good question and a fair one. That's why I keep publicizing this tragic case. I think people have a right to know how and why decisions are reached in the criminal justice system. The consequences are so serious, no matter what action may be taken by authorities.

    If the original case of assault was serious enough to be considered a felony, then a subsequent offense should have been enought to revoke the probation and proceed to original sentencing of one year in jail on the misdemeanor charge. It occurs to me that some examination of the system is in order; some explanation should be forthcoming.

    The Legendary