Denny Ross was no stranger to trouble. The Michigan native was first arrested days after his 20th birthday for trafficking cocaine. When Ross faced possible prison time for the drug charge, he admitted to being hooked on marijuana and agreed to seek counseling.
Ross said he wanted to improve his life, so he got a job with his father, before working as a pizza delivery boy in the summer of 1998. And every two weeks he was paying child support for his then 5-month-old son.
Ross was later sentenced on the drug charges to two years probation on May 17, 1999, two days before Hannah Hill was murdered.
Hannah, an 18-year-old from Kenmore, was friends with Ross, who was described as an excessive partier. Ross said Hannah came to visit him at his Springfield Township apartment the night she disappeared -- May 19, 1999.
Ross had a three-bedroom apartment above a store front at the northeast corner of U.S. 224 and Canton Road. His place was adjacent to an adult video store.
When Hannah's place of employment called her house to report she hadn't shown up for work, Hannah's parents became worried, even Hannah's boyfriend, Brad Oborn, was very concerned. Despite Hannah's parents filing a missing person's report that night with the Akron Police Department, officers didn't seem too concerned.
The report sat on a desk and was never entered into the computer system.
That was only the beginning of a botched police investigation. Neighbors in the quiet Ellet community of Caine Road called police to report a gold Geo Prizm parked on the street that matched the description of the vehicle being reported in the news.
Officers came out and ticketed the abandoned car, which displayed Hannah's name in two places, but never investigated further.
Six days after Hannah's reported disappearance, and numerous calls from neighbors about the parked car, officers found her body stuffed in the trunk of her gold Geo Prizm parked on Caine Road, three miles from Ross's apartment.
Hannah's boyfriend, Brad Oborn, was questioned, but passed a lie detector test and was free. Less than 24 hours later, authorities arrested Ross.
The bungled investigation led to the suspension of three Akron police dispatchers for several days.
An autopsy revealed Hannah was drunk when she died. Prosecutors said a plastic bag full of Hannah's clothes were found outside Ross's apartment, semen in her underwear was from Ross and residue on Hannah's lips matched the materials from a cast Ross was wearing when Hannah was strangled.
But in Oct. 2000, Ross's trial ended abruptly when the now-retired judge declared a mistrial, alleging jurors discussed a lie detector test that was not presented during the proceedings. A test that they said proved Ross was guilty.
The jury had even signed verdict forms acquitting Ross of aggravated murder, murder and rape, but it was never read in open court. Juror #107 said he felt prosecutors didn't present enough evidence to convince the panel without a doubt that Ross killed Hannah and stuffed her half-naked body in the trunk of her car.
The mistrial ruling sent the case through more than a decade of state and federal appeals. In Dec. 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Ross must be retried. Only this time, the death penalty would be off the table.
Ross, now 32, is serving a 25-year sentence at the Trumbull Correctional Institution, after being convicted in 2004 of raping a 24-year-old Akron woman a crime he committed while free on bond in the Hill case.
Date of birth: 04/15/79
Convicted in 2004:
Intimidation of victim
Stated prison term: 25 years
Denny Ross coverage
Family and friends of Hannah Hill gathered at the gazebo next to Springfield Lake Sunday afternoon to remember Hannah Hill.
After being convicted of the 1999 murder of Hannah Hill in Akron, Denny Ross is headed to prison for at least 19 more years.