Jurors deliberating murder retrial case of Denny Ross in Akron

AKRON, Ohio - "Hannah Hill was a bright, outgoing girl," said assistant prosecutor Matthew Meyer during closing arguments in the Denny Ross murder retrial. "Life was a non-stop party for Denny Ross and he liked to be the center of attention."

Meyer said that Ross's DNA was found on Hill's underwear and the outside of her pants. His blood was found on the inside pockets of Hill's pants which was found outside of Ross's Springfield Township apartment.

Ross's DNA was also found under Hill's fingernails. "A violent struggle occurred in those last, awful moments of Hannah Hill's life," explained Meyer.

Meyer also said Hill's boyfriend, Brad O'Born, is guilty of being a jerk, possessive, verbally abusive and physically abusive on one occasion, but not responsible for Hill's murder.

"The facts are, the DNA... is Denny Ross," said Meyer, despite the defense trying to point to O'Born as the killer.

"(Ross) had purpose in mind when he choked her, to cause the death of Hannah Hill. You can't choke a person and not have an intent to kill. That's why you do it," said Meyer.

Defense attorney Roger Synenberg told jurors there's one big question they must answer: Did the prosecution prove their case behind a reasonable doubt?

"The answer is, they have not," Synenberg said, who added that Ross was either on the phone or at a bonfire when Hill was murdered. "You can't be in two places at the same time."

The defense continues to suggest that O'Born could have killed Hill, telling jurors he's "a viable suspect."

Synenberg added Akron police conducted an "inept" investigation into the Hill murder case. "This case, they did it wrong." Synenberg also said he prays for Hill and offered his condolences to Hill's family, "but no verdict is going to bring back Hannah."

Synenberg suggested Akron police caved to public pressure to make an arrest, which led to charges against Ross, and then spent "the next 13 years trying to justify their decision."

Ross's defense attorney offered his own theory on how Hill was murdered. Synenberg believes she was hit on the head with an object and strangled by someone other than Ross outside of his apartment.

Assistant prosecuting attorney Anna Faraglia countered, telling jurors the Hill family has been on a journey for 13 years seeking the truth. She asked them to hold Ross "accountable" for Hill's murder.

"What you do in the next couple of days is up to you... Only with the truth can Hannah Hill rest in peace."

Jurors will deliberate the case until 4:30 p.m. and resume Tuesday around 9 a.m.

Ross is being retried in the 1999 murder of Hannah Hill. His first trial ended in a mistrial.

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