Court denies Ohio convicted child killer’s attempt to get off death row

I-Team

Danny Hill (left) and Raymond Fife (right)

WARREN, Ohio (WJW) – A convicted child killer will remain on Ohio’s death row. At least for now.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled by a 9-7 vote against convicted murderer Danny Hill’s appeal to get off death row after his attorneys claimed he is mentally disabled. Hill’s attorneys can appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“It’s not over yet and I am still waiting for justice,” said Miriam Fife, the victim’s mother.

Hill was 18-years-old when he raped, tortured and murdered 12-year-old Raymond Fife in Warren, police said. Hill was sentenced to death in 1986, but has fought that sentence, claiming developmental disabilities. He’s now 54 years old.

Miriam Fife told the FOX 8 I-Team she believes the only way to get justice for her son is for Hill to get the death penalty.

“I am so thankful for Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office because they have been with me every step of the way and stood behind us,” Fife said.

Fife said her fight for justice has been long and difficult. Watkins said he is grateful for the work of Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers.

“The lesson is you never give up on justice,” Watkins said. He added the state courts have already heard Hill’s mental disability claims and upheld the death sentence.

The co-defendant in the case, Timothy Combs, died in prison in 2018. He was sentenced to life in prison.  Since he was 17 at the time of the crime, he was not eligible for the death penalty.

Raymond Fife was killed Sept. 10, 1985. Police and prosecutors said Fife was riding his bike to a Boy Scout meeting when he was stopped by Hill and Combs near a wooded area by Palmyra Road SW. Hill and Combs then beat, sexually tortured, strangled and set the boy afire.  

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