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Hill v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

April 9, 2019


          JUDGE DEE D. DRELL


          Joseph H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. 1) filed by pro se Petitioner Michael Hill (“Hill”) (#104850). Hill is an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections, incarcerated at the David Wade Correctional Center (“DWCC”) in Homer, Louisiana. Hill challenges his conviction and sentence imposed in the 12th Judicial District Court, Avoyelles Parish.

         Because Hill's Petition (Doc. 1) is untimely, it should be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         I. Background

         The facts of this case were set forth by the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal:

On January 21, 1986, Contrell Alexander, a Simmesport resident was brutally murdered. Alexander's grandmother reported him as missing at 11:00 p.m. The next morning, Alexander's body was found in a ditch alongside “Old Highway 1” (now Highway 451), about one mile from the Simmesport corporate limits. The victim was found with a large gaping hole in the right side of his forehead. Bone, hair, and tissue fragments were found as much as 25 feet from the body. The authorities discovered an old fence post near the body containing blood, hair and tissue fragments. The cause of death was a severe bludgeoning to the head.
During 1986, defendant, Michael Hill, was questioned several times by Avoyelles Parish detectives about Alexander's death. At that time, the voluntary statements given by Hill were all exculpatory.[1] On August 27, 1991, defendant gave an inculpatory statement, placing himself at the scene of the crime and implicating Jones in the murder. Jones was then questioned. The statements of both Hill and Jones, taken together, place them both at the scene of the crime.
Jones[2] testified at trial that, on the night in question, the four co-defendants, Jones, Hill, Courtney and Pierre, and the victim, Alexander, left in his van from the Washington Teenage Center in Simmesport. While riding around, an argument ensued between Hill, Courtney and Alexander. Hill then demanded that Jones go to the Anderson home where Hill, Courtney and Alexander proceeded into the house. Jones remained in his van with Pierre. Jones stated that he did not leave because he was afraid of Hill. Shortly thereafter, Hill and Courtney exited the house carrying a limp form wrapped in a dark blanket and loaded it into the back of the van. Jones noted that Alexander's tennis shoes were sticking out of the blanket and assumed that Alexander was wrapped in the blanket.
After leaving the Anderson home, the group retraced the route taken, proceeding to La. 105 and then to its intersection with Highway 1 in Simmesport. Before arriving at the intersection defendant spoke of disposing of the body in the river, but Jones protested and instead took a left turn onto Highway 1. The group then traveled north on Highway 1, taking a right turn on a small road near Yellow Bayou Park. Jones stated that, at that time, Hill put a pistol behind his head and stated “Pain was for everybody” if he were “to tell, or do anything, or to try to stop what was going on”. They proceeded down this small lane until its intersection with Old Highway 1 (Highway 451), turned right, and drove eastward toward Simmesport. Jones testified that, shortly after this right turn, the front driver's side wheel began to vibrate. Jones stopped, and Hill remedied the problem with a four way lug wrench. The group proceeded a short distance further, during which time Jones heard moans from the back of the van followed by thumping sounds. He figured the sounds heard were blows delivered to Alexander by either Hill or Courtney. Hill then directed Jones to stop the van. While Hill and Courtney exited the side door of the van, Hill tripped on the van ledge and into the roadside ditch. Hill and Courtney removed Alexander from the rear of the van. Jones stated that, at this point, he again heard five or six thumping sounds, as though someone was beating a rug.
Thereafter, the group traveled toward Simmesport from the Old Highway 1 site, whereupon they turned around and returned to the murder scene at Hill's insistence. Hill retrieved the blanket that Alexander was wrapped in. They then traveled on Old Highway 1, turned left on Wayside Lane, and passed in front of the Mount Calvary Baptist Church which was operated by the victim's grandfather. At this point, Hill commented that they should have thrown the body there. Jones proceeded to Simmesport to drop off Pierre and Courtney and then traveled northward on Highway 1 to Hamburg where he dropped off Michael Hill at his home on Voorhies Lane.
Jones further testified that, after picking up a friend in Moreauville and visiting his girlfriend, he returned to Simmesport, participated briefly in the search for Alexander, dropped off his friend and washed his van at a local carwash. He also vacuumed the interior and cleaned blood off of the rear carpet area and four way lug wrench. David Antoine testified that he witnessed Jones cleaning his van at the carwash during the late evening hours of January 21, 1986.
In Hill's recorded oral statements of August 13 and August 27, 1991, and Jones' statement of August 29, 1991, each precisely and similarly described the route taken on the night of the murder. Furthermore, Hill, on August 13, 1991, and Jones, on August 29, 1991, separately traced the route in an automobile with Detective Lemoine and his assistants. The routes described by the parties were identical except for one minor inconsistency concerning a turnaround point. In fact, defendant's statements and Jones' statement were almost identical in all particulars except for the extent of the other's participation in the killing.
Dr. George McCormick, the State's expert forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on the victim, testified that the fatal head injuries were consistent with being pummeled by the previously mentioned fence post and the socket portion of a lug wrench. Defendant, in his August 13, 1991 recorded statement, confirmed with particularity ...

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