Alabama Couple’s 55-year Marriage Ends in 2004 Murder, KILLER TO BE EXECUTED

Alabama Couple’s 55-year Marriage Ends in 2004 Murder, KILLER TO BE EXECUTED

Floyd and Vera Hill lived a quiet existence in rural Alabama. They had been married for 55 years and were dedicated to one other, with the lively 87-year-old Floyd caring for Vera, 72, who had diabetes and was in terrible condition.

To supplement their income and keep themselves active, the couple organized yard sales on occasion and liked spending time with their grandchildren. All of that changed on a horrific June day in 2004 when the Hills were bludgeoned to death in their house in Guin, a little city approximately 70 miles northwest of Birmingham.

Now, 20 years later, the guy convicted of murdering them is likely to be killed. USA TODAY examines the horrific incident, the Hills’ identities, and the reasons for their deaths.


Whatever Happened to Floyd and Vera Hill?

Given their ages, the Hills’ adult grandkids frequently checked up on them. Their daughter, Brenda Barger, and granddaughter, Angela Freeman Jones, were concerned when they were unable to contact the couple on June 24, 2004, according to court filings.

The woman called the police since the couple was not answering their phone or opening their front door.

Guin police officer Larry Webb arrived at the Hills’ house shortly after nightfall. When his knocks and calls went unanswered, he examined the premises, seeing that Vera Hill’s bed was still made, her walker was in the living room, and Floyd Hill’s alarm was sounding.

Webb approached the couple’s padlocked shed and stood on a seat to see inside. What he witnessed was horrible.

The pair was lying in pools of blood, with severe injuries to their heads and face. Amazingly, he noticed Vera Hill’s arm move just slightly.

Webb broke into the shed and discovered that Vera Hill was still alive, but her husband had died.

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“Let me out of here,” Vera Hill finally said.

Vera Hill Survived the Attack But Died Months Later

Vera Hill survived the savage attack, but died more than two months later on September 12, 2004, from the consequences of her injuries. She was surrounded by her loved ones.

“The head injuries Vera Hill sustained were life-threatening, and… Vera Hill would have died within hours of receiving the injuries if she had not received the type of medical attention she did,” testified Sherry Melton, a trauma surgeon at the University of Alabama Hospital. The cause of death for Floyd and Vera was blunt- and sharp-force trauma to the head and neck.

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According to court records, Vera Hill labored greatly in her final months and could only utter Floyd.

Jamie Ray Mills was convicted of killing Floyd and Vera Hill.

Jamie Ray Mills, who was 30 at the time of the crime, was convicted of the couple’s murder based primarily on testimony provided by his wife, JoAnn Mills.

According to court filings, the Mills smoked meth the night before the killings and went to the Hills’ home, asking to use their phone. The Hills consented and even began showing the couple their yard sale stuff when JoAnn Mills claims her husband assaulted and killed them with a machete, tire tool, and ball peen hammer, according to court filings.

Prosecutors say the motivation was robbery, and the Mills stole $140 and some prescription drugs. Mills, who is now 50 years old and claims to be innocent, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Thursday.

His trial attorney, John Wiley, argued to jurors that Mills did not deserve the death punishment for a variety of reasons, including his two then-teenaged kids.

“By being alive and being a dad to them, even if it’s a long-distance dad, he can maybe show them where he went wrong and keep them from going down the same path,” Wiley stated.

Jack Bostick, the district attorney who argued for Mills’ death sentence, told jurors that “what happened to Floyd and Vera Hill was wrong, immoral, and barbaric.”

“You have two elderly, retired people who have been having a yard sale for about a week.” … Someone comes by pretending to use their phone and sits there, acting as if he’s making phone calls to build up his bravery,” Bostick explained. “It’s almost beyond imagination that anyone could be that cruel to another human being, to have that done to them.”

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