By Meladi Brewer
GREENVILLE — Lawrence M. Hill, 56, of Greenville was sentenced to life in prison with eligible parole options in 20 years on Friday for one count of aggravated murder, an unclassified felony. Darke County Common Pleas Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.
Hill was arrested for the murder of his son, Vincent Hill, 31, on the evening of Nov. 11, 2020, which took place at a residence located in the 2100 block of State Route 502 west of Greenville.
Judge Hein sentenced Hill to life in prison with 330 days jail credit, but the credit does not have an effect on the sentence. Hill has the opportunity to go in front of the parole board in 20 years and has to pay a $10,000 fine.
Before the sentencing, the attorneys, Hill, and citizens in the courtroom had the opportunity to speak.
Prosecuting attorney, James Bennet, made the recommendation for Mr. Hill to be granted a parole opportunity after 25 years. However, the number was originally turned down by law enforcement.
“After my discussions with the sheriff’s office, we stand firm on our recommendation for the 25 years,” Mr. Bennet said.
Mr. Bennet says he is recommending 25 years because of 29 29 12 having to do with seriousness of the crime and recidivism factors.
“I believe it gives the court a lot of discretion in this matter and looking at the seriousness factors,” Bennet said. “We have a death involved.”
Defense attorney, David Rohrer began to counter Mr. Bennet, and he brought up facts he believed were important that were not previously stated in the courtroom.
“Hill spent eight years in the Navy,” Rohrer said. “He was released under honorable medical discharge that came about from a suicide attempt.”
Rohrer continues to tell the court of Hill’s time post military service and how it was a hard adjustment that seemed unwinnable. Hill’s attorney explained to the court how Hill’s mental health played a contributing factor in the case.
“We knew from just talking with Hill that he suffered from a long history of mental illness,” Rohrer said. “He was diagnosed with mental illness, PTSD, along with others.”
Rohrer explained he had Hill examined to determine if he was mentally ill or insane at the time of the offense. Two forensic scientists found Hill to be mentally ill but not intellectually disabled and did not believe it caused the incident.
“The date of this incident Hill was involved, not himself, with a road rage incident,” Rohrer said. “He lost control of his anger. None of this is an excuse, but it is part of the mental illness that grabbed a hold and brought the death of his son.”
Rohrer explained to the judge how Hill’s sentence will be a death sentence even though the death penalty wasn’t instated due to Hill’s age and continued to suggest the court sentence him to the minimum of 20 years to life.
To contact Daily Advocate reporter Meladi Brewer email [email protected]