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
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.
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:
CONSECUTIVE/CONCURRENT AS TO OTHER CONVICTIONS:
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:
____ 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
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
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:
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
USSC # 96-1957
522 U.S. 907
06/04/97 Petition filed
10/06/97 USSC denied Petition
10/06/98 Motion filed
12/18/98 CC dismissed motion
Florida Supreme Court – Application for Stay of Execution
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)
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