Court documents show that on March 29, 2015, a 911 call alerted officers to a stabbing that had taken place inside Oconaluftee (Smokemont) Baptist Church inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Paramedics found the deceased victim with multiple stab wounds. Records also show that Hill, the victim and another individual drove to the church together, and over the course of their visit, Hill stabbed the victim with a knife during an unprovoked attack, causing the victim’s death. Following the fatal stabbing, Hill and his companion left the church and returned to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino where they picked up another person and then departed for a local hotel.
Investigators determined that the victim was stabbed at least 16 times in the chest, back, neck and elsewhere. Court records list the cause of death as “internal hemorrhage due to multiple stab wounds.”
“It takes a depraved person to kill another human being, but an evil one to carry out the murder inside a religious institution founded upon the belief in the sanctity of human life,” said U.S. Attorney Jill Rose. “While we can never replace their loved one, we hope that Hill’s lengthy prison term will bring closure to the victim’s family and friends.”
“Today’s sentence ensures that a killer has been taken off our streets. I want to thank NPS and CIPD for their invaluable assistance with this investigation," said FBI Special Agent in Charge John Strong. "This case is an example of federal and tribal law enforcement working together to bring justice to the citizens of western North Carolina."
Chief Ranger Steven Kloster of Great Smoky Mountains National Park also attended the sentencing hearing. “The National Park Service appreciates the coordination and cooperation of all involved agencies to bring this case to a successful prosecution,” he said.
Hill pleaded guilty to a second degree murder charge in April 2016. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
More information in our previous news release.
ISB: the Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service