The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly. This information, however, is subject to change and may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied on for statistical or legal purposes.


HILL, Paul Jennings (W/M)

DC #    459364

DOB:  02/06/54


First Judicial Circuit, Escambia County, Court Case # 94-3510

Federal District Court Case # 94-3118

Sentencing Judge:  The Honorable Frank L. Bell

Trial Attorney:  Pro Se

Attorney, Direct Appeal:  Michael R. Hirsh, Esq. & Roger J. Frechette, Esq.


Date of Offense:                       07/29/94

Date of State Sentence:             12/06/94

Date of Federal Sentence:         12/02/94


Circumstances of Offense:


On July 29, 1994, Paul Hill, an anti-abortion activist, shot Dr. John Britton, James Barrett and June Barrett outside a Pensacola, Florida, clinic where abortions were performed.  Dr. Britton and James Barrett were killed in the shooting.  Mrs. Barrett was injured.


On the morning of July 29, James Barrett and his wife June, both volunteers at the Ladies Center, met Britton, a doctor who performed abortions at the airport, and acting as escorts, drove him to the center.  They arrived at the center in a pickup truck driven by James Barrett.  Hill was waiting for them outside the center.  As Mr. Barrett exited the truck, Hill shot and killed James Barrett and wounded June Barrett.  He then shot and killed Dr. Britton.  Hill was arrested shortly thereafter while walking away from the center.



State Trial Summary:


08/09/94          Indicted as follows:

                                    Count I First-Degree Murder

                                    Count II           First-Degree Murder

                                    Count III          Attempted First-Degree Murder

                                    Count IV          Shooting Into an Occupied Vehicle

11/02/94          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

11/03/94          Jury recommended two death sentences by votes of 12-0

12/06/94          Sentenced as follows:

Count I Death

Count II           Death

Counts III-IV   160.75 years

The following information comes from Judge Bell’s sentencing order:




X – It is further ordered that the composite term

for all sentences imposed for the counts specified

in this order shall run

(check one) X consecutive to ____ concurrent

with the following:

(check one)


____ any active sentence being serviced.


X_ specific sentences: FEDERAL





Federal Trial Summary:


08/12/94          Indicted as follows:

                                    Counts I-III      Injuring and Interfering in Providing Reproductive

                                                            Health Services

                                    Count IV          Firearms charge

10/05/94          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

12/02/94          Sentenced as follows:

                                    Counts I-II       Life Imprisonment, concurrent

                                    Count III          120 months, concurrent

                                    Count IV          60 months, consecutive





Additional Information


On 09/27/94, a state Faretta hearing was held to determine if Hill would be allowed to act as his own counsel.  At the hearing, the trial court allowed Hill to represent himself, with a court-appointed attorney on “stand-by” in case Hill requested help and to represent him if necessary.



State Appeals Summary:


Florida Supreme Court - Direct Appeal

FSC # 84,838

688 So.2d 901


12/12/94          Appeal filed

11/27/96          FSC affirmed the conviction and sentence

03/06/97          FSC denied motion for rehearing

04/09/97          Mandate issued


U.S. Supreme Court - Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC # 96-1957

522 U.S. 907


06/04/97          Petition filed

10/06/97          USSC denied Petition


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC # 94-3510


10/06/98          Motion filed

12/18/98          CC dismissed motion


Florida Supreme Court – Application for Stay of Execution

FSC# 03-1451


08/26/03          Application filed

08/28/03          FSC dismissed Application

08/28/03          Motion for Reconsideration filed

08/28/03          State’s Response

08/29/03          Motion for Reconsideration denied

08/29/03          Supplemental Authority filed




Federal Appeal Summary:


United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, Appeal

USCA # 94-3600


01/06/95          Appeal filed

02/14/95          USCA dismissed Appeal





07/09/03          Death warrant signed by Governor Bush. Execution set for 09/03/03.

08/26/03          Application for Stay of Execution filed (Dismissed 08/28/03)


Case Information:


Hill filed a direct appeal with the Florida Supreme Court in 1994.  He argued that the trial court did not inform him of the difficulty of self-representation while under incarceration, adding that he was not sufficiently educated and experienced in the law to understand the difficulty in presenting a defense.  Hill also argued that the court erred in allowing the state’s motion to prevent him from presenting evidence concerning abortion and his views on abortion as a defense for his actions.  The two arguments and other guilt phase and penalty phase arguments were rejected by the court in its 1996 affirmation of Hill’s conviction and sentence.  The defendant’s request for a rehearing was denied the following year.


The defendant then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari in 1997, which the court denied in the same year.


Hill filed a 3.850 motion with the Florida Circuit Court on 10/06/98 that was dismissed by the same court on 12/18/98.


Michael Hirsh and Richard Frechette, on Hill’s behalf, filed an Application for Stay of Execution on 08/26/03 that was dismissed on 08/28/03.  Hirsh and Frechette filed a Motion for Reconsideration on 08/28/03, which was denied on 08/29/03. 


Paul Hill was executed on 09/03/03.



Report date:     03/28/01          TB                  

Approved:        03/28/01          WHS

Updated:          09/05/01          JFL                  08/29/03          EW

07/10/03          EMC                09/04/03          EW

08/26/03          JFL

08/27/03          JFL

08/28/03          JFL