Convicted killer of Warren Boy Scout in 1985 given more time to fight execution
The man convicted of torturing a murdering a Warren Boy Scout 37 years ago has been given more time to try and prevent his execution.
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Danny Lee Hill’s motion to give his attorneys more time to pursue Hill’s claim that he shouldn’t have been sentenced to death because Hill allegedly has an intellectual disability.
The appeals court order comes just three weeks after Trumbull County Prosecutor, Dennis Watkins filed a motion to set the date for Hill's execution.
Since executions in Ohio have been on hold due to the unavailability of lethal injection drugs, Prosecutor Watkins suggested alternatives such as a firing squad or electrocution.
Background – Caution: Some readers may find some details in the following court record account disturbing.
According to court records, on September 10, 1985, at approximately 5:15 p.m., Raymond Fife left home on his bicycle to visit a friend, Billy Simmons.
After learning that the twelve-year-old had not arrived at his friend's home by 5:50 p.m., Fife's family began searching for him.
Raymond Fife's father found his son more than four hours later in a wooded field behind the Valu-King supermarket on Palmyra Road.
The child was naked and appeared to have been severely beaten and his face was burned. Raymond's underwear was found tied around his neck and appeared to have been lit on fire.
Raymond died in the hospital two days later.
The coroner, who ruled Raymond's death a homicide, testified during the trial that the victim had been choked and had a hemorrhage in his brain. The coroner also said that Fife sustained several burns, damage to his rectal-bladder area, and bite marks on his penis.
Through testimony from three Warren Western Reserve High School Students, the jury learned that Danny Lee Hill and Timothy Combs were around the Valu-King and the bike trails on the evening Raymond Fife was assaulted. One of the students had also seen Fife riding his bike in the store parking lot.
A student who said he saw Combs on the trail also said he heard a child's scream. Another student says he saw Combs pulling up the zipper of his blue jeans.
Two days after Fife was found, Danny Lee Hill, who was 18 years old at the time, went to the Warren Police Station to inquire about a $5,000 reward that was being offered for information concerning the murder.
According to Police Sergeant Thomas Stewart, Hill told him that he had just seen some he knew riding Fife's bike. When Stewart asked Hill how he knew the bike belonged to Fife, Hill replied, "I know it is."
Sergeant Stewart testified that during their conversation, it became apparent that Hill knew a lot about the bike and the underwear that was found around Fife's neck.
On the following Monday, September 16, Hill went to the police station accompanied by his uncle, Warren Police Detective Morris Hill.
Police say after waiving his Miranda rights, Danny Lee Hill admitted on audio and video tape that he was present during the beating and sexual assault of Raymond Fife, but that Timothy Combs did everything to the victim.
Combs was eventually convicted of felonious sexual penetration, arson, rape, kidnapping, and aggravated murder.
Since Combs was 17 years old at the time of the crime, he was not eligible for the death penalty and is serving a life sentence. He will be eligible for his first parole hearing in 2049.
Hill was convicted on the same charges, but since he was 18 years old at the time Fife was assaulted, he was sentenced to death.