After facing murder charges for nearly 4 1/2 years, two trials, one hung jury and the possibility of a second hung jury and after the second month-long trial, Charlene Hill ended her fight Friday night by taking a plea deal.
The first murder trial for Charlene Hill took place in September of 2009 and ended with a hung jury. The Hills, a Pecan Grove couple, owned a landscaping company and storage business. After a near-fatal motorcycle accident involving both Danny and Charlene Hill, they sold their companies and semi-retired. According to testimony, Charlene Hill suffered years of abuse and finally shot and killed her husband in 2007, claiming self-defense.
Her second murder trial began in January and ended on Friday night, February 11, at 6:33 pm, when Ms. Hill stood before 434th District Judge James Shoemake, flanked by her defense team headed by George Parnham, and accepted a plea deal of 10 years deferred adjudication on the charge of murder. By accepting the plea deal, which had been offered to her prior to trial, Ms. Hill will have to complete at least 5 years of probation before she can be eligible for release. Even more importantly, by accepting this plea, if completed without any violations, she will not spend any time incarcerated and she will not have a conviction on her record.
Also as part of the deal, Ms. Hill had to admit to and aliquot to the murder, meaning she had to admit that she shot him and it was not in self defense. Never, has Hill denied that she shot him.† However, until that night, she adamantly denied it was anything short of self defense.
Hill’s defense team put on a case for her claiming post traumatic stress syndrome based on 25 years of spousal abuse. During testimony in both trials the defense proved several times over that Danny Hill was a volatile and violent person. There were medical reports, police reports, and investigations by Child Protective Services (CPS) that substantiated the injuries he inflicted on both her and their children. The State even acknowledged Danny Hill’s proclivity to violence against his own family when prosecutors Chad Bridges and Jill Stotts told the jury, “We have warned you all along that you would hear things you did not like, but this case is about what a reasonable person would do. Ms. Hill had a duty to retreat, instead she just pulled the trigger,” said Stotts. She could have just left, the prosecution insisted.
The second trial dragged out over several weeks and was marked with delays caused by bad weather, the judge’s previous schedule, and the dropping out of two jurors during deliberations. Another interesting quirk to the trial was the fact that the jury came back with a verdict after two days of deliberations, but too late to be considered because of the pending plea deal.
Charlene Hill will be scheduled to be back in court for the punishment phase of her case sometime within the next month.