BRIMFIELD, Ohio - The outspoken Brimfield police chief told a haunting story of his tie to a young murder victim whose killer will be sentenced on Tuesday.
Chief David Oliver frequently takes to Facebook with his rants , or as he calls it "babble." His latest post is about Hannah Hill, an 18-year-old who was found dead in the trunk of her car in 1999 in the Akron Ellet neighborhood.
"I met Hannah in 1999," Oliver said. "I was working as an undercover narcotics investigator. Hannah had been hanging with her (then) boyfriend and some others in one of our Brimfield hotels… She had rented the room, had an argument with her boyfriend and she left. A drug party ensued."
When now-Chief Oliver called in Hill to question her about the cocaine found in the room, he met an articulate, pretty young woman, who had been hanging with the wrong crowd. He said her parents urged him to have a heart-to-heart conversation about the risks.
"I explained the street drug culture to her and the likelihood of bullets flying or otherwise being an innocent bystander while hanging with dopers. During my ‘make her see the light' talk, I said these words to her….'If you keep hanging with this crew, you will be dead in six months'….. I have said that once in my career…. on that day."
Oliver said Hill's mother called him not long after their meeting, asking if he could help find her missing daughter. Hill's body was discovered by police a week after she was reported missing. Prosecutors said she was strangled during a violent sexual encounter inside Denny Ross's apartment in Springfield Township.
"Girls like Hannah- and there are hundreds if not thousands a year- should not be murdered at age 18. It is incomprehensible," the chief said.
Last week, a Summit County jury found Ross guilty of Hill's murder after his 2000 trial ended in a mistrial. Ross is currently serving a 25-year sentence in the Trumbull Correctional Institution after being convicted in 2004 of raping an Akron woman, a crime he committed while free on bond in the Hill case.
"To the Akron officers and detectives who worked this case, including Lt. Hughes and other, hats off to all of you. A conviction 10+ years after the crime is monumental. You don't work with me; however, I want to thank-you, from the heart. This case impacted me," Oliver said. He ended his posted with "May her family find comfort and may Hannah rest in peace."