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.

(1) comment


I would like to ask how someone who didn’t have any blood whatsoever on him, did all of this? I have given birth to 4 babies and let me tell you that if nobody would drive me to the hospital, I would of drove myself or called someone else. Also I would of tore someone apart if they tried to hurt my baby! I don’t understand how she is walking free right now? If he would have of done this, he would of had some blood on him.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.