Hills Bound Over To Grand Jury For Attempted Murder

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A man who recently escaped from the Cannon County Jail, along with his mother and sister, were bound over to the September term of the Cannon County Grand Jury Tuesday (July 19) in General Sessions Court.

James W. Hill, his mother Mary Virginia Hill, and sister Charlotte M. Hill are each facing charges of attempted first degree murder, aggravated arson and especially aggravated robbery.

Judge Susan Melton found there was sufficient probable cause to bound the three over the the grand jury following a preliminary hearing.

During the hearing the victim of the alleged crimes, Lonnie Estes, testified the Hills were in the process of moving out of a trailer home he rented them on Big Hill Road when he became involved in an argument with Mary and Charlotte Hill over missing linens and towels.

Estes stated that during the March 16 incident James Hill attacked him.

"James went off and grabbed my cane and hit me with the cane in the head," Estes said. "The cane broke. He grabbed a chair and hit me hard and it broke. Then he grabbed another chair and knocked me to the floor."

Estes said he was bleeding from the head and dazed while lying on the floor, in the kitchen area of the trailer.

Estes said he then saw James Hill go outside, and return with a milk jug containing gasoline. Estes said James Hill poured the gasoline around the kitchen and then set it on fire after lighting a piece of paper he took from a trash can.

Estes testified James Hill stated, "I'll burn your (butt) up in here" before starting the fire.

After the fire started, all three Hills left the trailer, Estes said. He said James Hill, before fleeing, took his wallet, which contained about $150, from his pants

With the fire burning around him, Estes said he crawled out of the trailer, tried to call 911 on his cell phone, but was unsuccessful in getting a connection. He said he then made his way to his car, went to his home, also on Big Hill Road, and called 911 from his land line phone.

Estes was transported to DeKalb County Hospital for treatment of his head injuries. Cannon County Sheriff's Investigator Anthony Young traveled with Estes in the ambulance and obtained a statement from him.

The Hills were located and taken into custody later the same day at their new residence on Pea Ridge Road.

Investigator Young said Charlotte Hill told him during questioning that she knew Estes had injuries when they left the trailer, they knew the trailer was on fire, and they all thought he (Estes) was dead.

Charlotte Hill also told Investigator Young the trio first traveled to Nice Mill Dam in Murfreesboro, where Estes' wallet was thrown into the river, and then went to a Wal-mart in Carthage where they went shopping.

According to Investigator Young, James Hill told a corrections officer during booking that his "only regret was he didn't finish him (Estes) off."

Investigator Young said he also learned from a neighbor that two days before the incident Charlotte and James Hill had discussed murdering Estes while they were at her house.

The case against the three Hills will be presented to the grand jury on Sept. 16.

James Hill is also facing charges of escaping from the Cannon County Jail on July 6.

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