Jurors looked away, closed their eyes and shook their heads as photos of a dead baby boy were shown in Robert Hill Jr.’s capital murder trial in Decatur this week.
That was the opening paragraph of a story in The Arab Tribune that ran in 2008 about James Robert Hill Jr., who was on trial in Morgan County for killing his infant son.
He was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Hill, now 45, is up for parole. He has a hearing before the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles Tuesday in Montgomery.
Hill was found guilty of killing his newborn son with blunt force trauma to the head. The baby was found dead in a clothes basket with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.
High levels of cocaine were found in the baby’s system.
Hill has served 13-and-a-half years of his 20-year sentence. He’s been in prison since February 2009. He is serving his time in Limestone Correctional Facility.
The baby’s body was found in November 2006 in a Lacey’s Spring mobile home. Investigators say the baby was born healthy, other than the cocaine, but later died at his father’s hands.
Charges against the baby’s mother, Cristan Atchley, were dropped in exchange for her testimony against Hill.
The baby boy weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19 inches long.
Atchley said that when she went into labor, Hill wouldn’t take her to the hospital and the two delivered the baby after a night of doing drugs.
She said that when the baby was born, Hill wrapped him in a blanket and took him from the room. When Hill returned to the room without the baby and she asked where her baby was, Hill replied, “What baby?”
For more on this story please pick up Thursday’s Tribune or purchase an e-edition.