WHEELING - A judge said the gun sheriff's deputies seized while arresting Christian Hill in April is admissible evidence during Hill's potential trial on charges of kidnapping and first-degree robbery.
Ohio County sheriff's deputies seized the gun from the car Hill was in at The Highlands. Hill is accused of using that gun to kidnap the mother of his child and rob her of his tax return, which she received electronically as payment for unpaid child support.
Hill allegedly flashed a handgun and ordered the woman to drive to a nearby bank and withdraw the funds. She drove Hill, as well as their child, to a bank under the threat of the gun and withdrew $240 from her account.
Photo by Tyler Reynard
Christian Hill, right, listens to testimony as his attorney, Robert McCoid, looks over notes in Ohio County Circuit Court on Monday.
Hill reportedly arrived at work the day following the alleged crime, whereupon his manager, who learned he was wanted by law enforcement, contacted the sheriff's department.
Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone ruled deputies did not violate search procedures when they seized what they recognized to be a gun case on the back seat of the vehicle. They subsequently opened the case to find the gun, seize it and provide it to the Wheeling Police Department, the investigating agency.
Hill's defense attorney, Robert McCoid, is seeking to keep Hill's statements to law enforcement officers out of the trial, as well.
Ohio County Assistant Prosecutor Gail Kahle on Monday said deputies Mirandized Hill during his arrest, as well as prior to an interview at sheriff's department headquarters. McCoid claimed one of Hill's statements leads him to believe Hill may not have been fully capable of understanding the interview process.
"Obviously, you can look in my eyes and tell me that I'm high," Hill told Deputy Kent Lewis during questioning following his arrest.
Lewis testified that while Hill admitted during the interview he took 30 milligrams of Percocet, he never suspected Hill was unable to understand his questioning.
"By the police officers' accounts," said Kahle, "Mr. Hill ... spoke in an intelligent fashion with the police officers - appeared to be normal. There's nothing indicating ... that this was anything but a knowing waiver of his constitutional rights."
McCoid will file a brief in support of the motion to suppress Hill's statements with the circuit court clerk within 10 days.
Mazzone will set a trial date during docket day proceedings in September. Hill remains in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville in lieu of $100,000 bond.