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Hilltown man was shot 6 times, not once, says FBI
Mother asks why officers would shoot someone who had shot himself already.
By Scott Kraus
Of the Morning Call
January 31, 2008
FBI agents were looking for child pornography Monday night when they and local police officers confronted a 39-year-old man in the upstairs bedroom of his Hilltown Township home.
Darius T. Hill, of 836 Callowhill Road died Monday after being shot six times, said Bucks County Coroner Joseph Campbell, one of the bullets coming from his own gun.
Cambell said the cause of death was ''multiple gunshot wounds'' but that he has not ruled on which bullet caused Hill's death or the manner of death: whether homicide, suicide, accident or undetermined.
''We have not issued any report or final determination,'' Campbell said. ''It is still under investigation.''
District Attorney Michelle Henry said Wednesday night that federal investigators were looking for images of child pornography for ''possession and/or distribution'' on Hill's computer.
Hilltown Police Chief Chris Englehart said officers from his department assisted the FBI, but he declined to say how many officers were present or if any of them fired their weapons.
It was not Hill's first brush with the federal investigators, according to court records. He was apprehended in 1997 by undercover agents from the FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service as part of an investigation into the theft and sale of military munitions called ''Operation Longfuse.''
According to the 1997 Department of Defense news release, Hill was one of six Marines arrested in the operation, charged with ''allegedly stealing military M-16 rifles, machine guns, explosives and hand grenades'' for sale to weapons enthusiasts.
The Hilltown shooting is being investigated by the Bucks County district attorney and internally by a special ''shooting review team'' out of the FBI's Washington, D.C., office, FBI spokeswoman Jerria Williams said.
Williams admitted the FBI was premature when it said Tuesday night that Hill died of a single gunshot wound to the head.
''In this case, the interviews are being conducted, and the autopsy was just done yesterday,'' Henry said.
Federal court records show Hill, a Marine who fought in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, re-enlisted in 1995 and rose to the rank of sergeant.
But he admitted in June 1998, during a court martial proceeding, to charges of conspiracy to steal and wrongfully dispose of military property, wrongful disposition of military property, larceny of military property and wrongful disposition of stolen ammunition.
He was sentenced to four years' confinement. A Marine Corps spokeswoman said Hill was dishonorably discharged at the rank of private.
Hill has fought the verdict and sentence in a series of unsuccessful federal appeals, saying he was denied due process and ''duped'' into pleading guilty by his underqualified civilian attorney.
Hill's mother, Eileen K. Hill, said her son's family does not know what the FBI was looking for Monday and does not believe her son killed himself. She said the FBI confiscated her son's computer.
Hill said they plan to hire an attorney and an independent medical examiner to conduct an autopsy.
''Why would anyone shoot a man who shot himself in the mouth?'' she asked. ''...I don't feel the whole thing fits together.''
Eileen Hill, who lives in Shamokin, Northumberland County, said her son in 1991 was in one of the first rows of tanks to roll into Kuwait, then occupied by the Iraq army.
He married his wife, Rebecca, seven years ago, and the couple had two children -- Reagan, 3, and Shelby, 5, and the whole family was home Monday night when FBI agents arrived at the door of their white Callowhill Road farmhouse, she said.
Hill said her son, a tall, broad-shouldered, bear of a man, was gentle and loving with his children.
According to Eileen Hill, the agents, accompanied by Hilltown police, came to the door Monday at about 6:30 p.m., announcing that they had a search warrant, and asking if her son was home.
Rebecca, who goes by Becky, told them he was upstairs, Hill said.
They pushed past her and went upstairs and a little while later, two township police officers came down and ushered Rebecca, and her two children into a squad car and took them to the Hilltown police station, Hill said.
Two hours later, Hill said, a police officer told Rebecca Hill that her husband had been killed in a dispute with law enforcement officers.
The agents confiscated Darius Hill's computer, and took up a square of blood soaked carpet in his bedroom, his mother said.
She said the hardest part was telling his two children that their father was dead. ''It was the most horrible thing I ever had to do,'' she said.
Eileen Hill said her son, 1986 Pennridge High School graduate who graduated with the Women's Club of Perkasie Instrumental Music Award, was a remodeling and restoration contractor, and was remodeling his boyhood home at 836 Callowhill Road.
She said he seemed happy with his life and showed no signs of wanting to kill himself.
Hill served as judge of elections for the Bucks County Board of Elections in Hilltown.
FBI house raid linked to child porn
By JACOB FENTON
Federal investigators were looking for evidence of child pornography when they raided a Hilltown home Monday night, touching off a fatal shooting.
But whether Darius Hill, 39, a Marine veteran of the first Iraq war who is described as a “mountain of a man,” killed himself or died from one of the five gunshot wounds inflicted by law enforcement, was still unclear Wednesday.
Bucks County Coroner Dr. Joseph Campbell said Hill died of gunshot wounds, one of which was self-inflicted, but didn't have a conclusive answer as to which bullet caused his death.
Hill, a 1986 Pennridge High School graduate, was shot six times in his bedroom Monday just before 7 p.m. after FBI agents executed a federal search warrant, authorities said.
His most grievous wounds were gunshots to the mouth and chest, officials said. The shot to the mouth was believed to be the self-inflicted one, whereas the other gunshots came from law officers' guns.
On Wednesday, the FBI stepped back from its earlier statement that a coroner's report showed conclusively Hill shot himself to death.
“The information we had was premature and that we now realize that the coroner had not made a final determination,” said FBI spokeswoman Jerri Williams.
Friends and family said they couldn't believe the dedicated father of two young daughters would have committed suicide in the bedroom of the Callowhill Road home where he grew up.
The sketchy narrative provided so far doesn't add up, Hill's mother said.Hill's wife was told that he had put a gun into his mouth in the tense situation, friends and family said.
Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry said the warrants were granted for an investigation into possession and distribution of child pornography. She wouldn't say anything about the shooting besides stating that an investigation was ongoing.
Steven Gamvroulas, an agent in the Utah Attorney General's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said he'd received about 700 pieces of child pornography by e-mail from Hill specifically.
As an undercover agent, Gamvroulas joined a network that shared such images, and said he was just one member of many receiving the e-mails. Hill was not suspected of producing the pornography, Gamvroulas said.
Hill's computer was seized, according to his mother, Eileen Hill, but she rejected the idea that he was involved in anything illegal. “My son's not a seller of child pornography,” she said.
Hill said her family had hired a lawyer and expected answers to the unanswered questions surrounding his death. “Frankly, he was murdered,” she said.
“Even if you committed a murder they don't have the right to come in and murder you and say you did it to yourself,” she said. “If you shot yourself in the mouth, why would they shoot you? And if they shot you first, how could you shoot yourself in the mouth?”
A FBI shooting review team is examining the incident, and Bucks County detectives are conducting their own inquiry, but neither had any new details to share Wednesday.County detectives were not involved in the raid, so they are a “neutral party,” Campbell said.
Eileen Hill gave this account of the events:
Darius Hill had just finished working out on a treadmill and was going upstairs to take a shower when the doorbell rang. The family had ordered a pizza, and his two young daughters, ages 3 and 5, ran toward the door. Hill's wife, Rebecca, answered the door and found FBI agents outside.
Agents told Rebecca Hill they had a search warrant, but wouldn't say what they were looking for, and pushed past her into the house. When they realized her husband was home, they went upstairs to the bedroom. Rebecca Hill heard voices, but not any shots.
Soon afterward, Hilltown police escorted Rebecca Hill and her two daughters to a squad car outside and later drove them to the police station. Only several hours later did they tell her that her husband had died.
A friend said that at 6 feet, 4 inches tall, Darius Hill was a “moving mountain of a man” and a fearless Marine. “He drove the lead tank in the center column going into Kuwait City” during the first Iraq war, said the friend, who asked not to be named.
His mother said Darius had joined the Marines straight out of high school and served for a dozen years, rising to staff sergeant.
Sheila Thoder, a family friend and the bookkeeper for Hill's contracting business, said he was proud of his daughters. “He adored them, and he was such an upbeat person. If anybody ever had any problems or something wasn't going well, he'd always be the one to say everything is going to work out,” she said.
“His wife is just inconsolable,” Thoder said. “She's devastated — absolutely devastated. One minute she was planning on what to have dinner with her husband — the next she was taken out and dragged to a police station. A few hours later was told her husband was dead.”
Eileen Hill said she had to tell her granddaughters they'd never see their father again.
The eldest daughter was stunned, Hill said.
"Daddy was going to take me to Chuck E. Cheese's for my birthday' ... and then she cried.
She said, "We were supposed to go camping this summer',” she said. “It just tore me apart. I thought — oh my.”
Jacob Fenton can be reached at 215-957-8166 or jfenton@phillyBurbs.com.
Originally posted by searching4truth
OP, you said that he was into aliens, anything other topics? Do you know his stance on these subjects? Or any specific info he may have told you or your friend old stories, specific beliefs to try searching phrases?
Originally posted by highlyoriginal
I'm going to try and get a hold of the widow, Mrs. Hill, and get whatever information I can from her, although it may not be a subject she is willing to talk about. But maybe if I tell her I'm trying to solve this whole ordeal/execution of her husband she may be willing to help.