Gruesome Pictures Shown at Denny Ross Trial
AKRON,Ohio — Jurors in the murder trial of Denny Ross were shown the gruesome photographs taken by police after they found the body of Hannah Hill in the trunk of her car on Caine Road in May 1999.
Ross, 33, stared blankly at a computer screen watching the same photographs as investigators and police officers described what they saw.
Hill, 18, had been missing for five days when police finally realized a car that had been abandoned on Caine Road was hers.
Former Akron Patrolman Robert Kroah was among the first to arrive, called to the scene because he had a tool police could use to open the locked driver’s door.
On the witness stand Friday, Kroah described finding the car with a drink cup and the keys still inside on the front seat and what appeared to be a jacket in the back.
On the dashboard, sticking up from a slot for the passenger side air bag, was a photo of Hannah Hill and her boyfriend Brad O’Born.
Kroah said he did not disturb anything because he realized it was a crime scene, allowing gloved detectives to have a closer look.
He testified that he was there when Detective Susan Hackbart opened the trunk.
“We opened the trunk, raised up a little bit, we see the body of the deceased in there, she was unclothed from the waist down,” said Kroah.
Kroah said they immediately closed the trunk lid because curious neighbors were starting to congregate near the scene.
He testified that he then started to tape off a large crime scene area before the car was put on a flatbed truck and taken to the medical examiner’s office.
Hackbart also testified on Friday as prosecutors went through dozens of photos for the jury to see.
She said it was obvious that Hill had been in the trunk for a while.
“She was unclothed from the breasts down,” said Hackbart, adding, “she almost looks like she’s been posed because her feet are together.”
Television monitors in the courtroom were turned off so that those in the gallery, including Hill’s mother, were not able to see the disturbing evidence.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Judith Hunter also ruled on Friday to allow testimony from a prosecution witness who could provide a possible motive.
Judge Hunter said she would allow the testimony of Daniel Doyle, in spite of objections of defense attorneys.
Doyle is expected to testify that Ross wanted revenge because he may have held Hill responsible for helping him get arrested on a drug charge.
Defense Attorney Roger Synenberg urged the judge not to allow the testimony because he felt telling the jury about a drug arrest would be too prejudicial against Ross, and argued that Ross already knew Hill had nothing to do with his arrest by the time she was murdered.
Prosecutors are expected to continue calling witnesses on Monday.