Testimony Begins in Denny Ross’ Retrial, Victim’s Mother Speaks
AKRON, Ohio — Testimony is underway in the second murder trial of Denny Ross, 33, accused of murdering a teenage girl 13 years ago.
Hannah Hill, 18, was found dead in the trunk of her car on Caine Road in May 1999 following a five-day search.
Summit County Prosecutors tried Ross for the crime in 2000, but that ended in a mistrial.
On Monday they started presenting their case to a new jury.
In her opening statements, Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Anna Faraglia laid out a case in which she said the evidence will show that Ross was infatuated with Hill, but that she showed no interest in him.
“From the first time the defendant met Hannah Hill he was infatuated by her, but she never gave him the time of day,” Faraglia said.
Faraglia told the jury that Ross admitted to police that Hill had gone to his Canton Road apartment on the night she was murdered. The jury was also told that when police conducted a search of Ross’ apartment they found a garbage bag outside of the apartment with the clothing in it that Hill was wearing when she was murdered.
“The evidence is going to show that detective Sgt. John Callahan was walking around the perimeter and underneath that window was a garbage bag and in that garbage bag, ladies and gentlemen, was Hannah Hill’s belongings.”
Faraglia said the garbage bag contained articles of clothing and Hill’s purse.
“They were her clothes which was her shirt, her bra, her panties, her socks, her shoes and her purse,” she said.
She told the jury that DNA evidence taken from the victim will also point directly to Ross as the killer.
“You will find that there was DNA on her shirt and you will find that there was DNA on both hands underneath her finger nails. You need to evaluate and consider that evidence because that evidence folks comes back to one person, and that person sits right before you, that person is Denny Ross,” said Faraglia.
Defense attorney Roger Synenberg countered in his opening statements that he will use phone records of calls that were made to and from Ross’ apartment telephone number to show he could not have committed the crime.
Synenberg says the phone calls throughout the evening of May 19, 1999, when Hill disappeared, will help account for what Ross was doing when Hill was killed other than a short time he spent with friends who were about a three minute walk from Ross’ apartment.
Synenberg told the jury those friends will testify that they were with him and saw him leave with another man about 11:30 p.m.
“The evidence will show where Denny Ross was when Hannah Hill was murdered,” said Synenberg, adding “it will show he could not have been the person who killed Hannah Hill.”
Synenberg said there was no forensic evidence found on or inside the bag that can directly tie him to the crime.
“None of the three trash bags that were found in Denny Ross’ apartment matched the trash bag that had Hanna Hill’s clothes and that was outside his apartment,” he said.
He also told the jury that none of the forensic evidence found inside of Ross’ apartment, including blood splatter, matched Hill’s DNA. Synenberg suggested in his opening arguments that police did not thoroughly enough investigate other likely suspects, including Hill’s boyfriend, with whom he had a “tumultuous relationship”
He said when police interviewed a close friend of Hill from high school she told them that the boyfriend, not Ross, was “abusive…obsessive and capable of killing Hannah.”
Jurors started the day on Monday visiting Ross’ Canton Road apartment and the Caine Road address where Hill’s body was found.
They ended the day hearing from three witnesses, including Hill’s mother who described the desperation during the five days her daughter was missing.
When asked what she did during the five days that people were searching for her daughter, Kimberly Hill answered that she “mostly prayed.”