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Accused Rapist, Murderer Refuses Plea Bargain

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AKRON, Ohio — He is accused of committing one of Northeast Ohio’s most notorious murders, and Denny Ross, 33, is now scheduled to stand trial for a second time on August 13. The trial date was set during a hearing at the Summit County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon.

Ross is accused of raping, beating and strangling Hannah Hill in 1999. Her body was discovered in the trunk of a car parked in an Akron neighborhood.

Ross initially stood trial in 2000, but the judge declared a mistrial after learning a juror had discussed polygraph test evidence that had not been introduced during the trial. Later, it was also discovered the jury had already voted to acquit Ross, but the verdicts were never read in open court. These events led to a series of appeals by defense attorneys, and in 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Ross should stand trial again.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Ross rejected two separate plea bargain offers from prosecutors. One of the offers would call for Ross to plead guilty to murder and face 15 – 25 years in prison. He would receive credit for time he has served for the 2004 rape of an Akron woman that was committed while he was out on bond in the Hill case. The other offer would allow Ross to plead guilty to charges of manslaughter, abuse of a corpse and felonious assault, and then face 25 years in prison. Ross told Judge Judy Hunter, “there will be no plea bargains, and the offers are quite insulting.”

Prosecutors told the court they will keep the offers on the table until 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, but Ross told the court, “[A plea] is not an option; I will not change my mind.”