Man given SES, probation for beating wife, ‘ransacking’ sister-in-law’s house on day of husband’s death
William T. Hill appeared before Judge Craig Carter in Circuit Court on Aug. 18 and pleaded guilty to three charges in two separate cases. In one case, Hill pleaded guilty to domestic assault and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with a February incident involving his wife. In another case, Hill pleaded guilty to first-degree property damage in connection with a destructive episode in which he reportedly broke out windows, damaged a door and smashed furniture and fixtures after the June 9, 2020, death of his brother, Boyd Hill. The damaged structure belonged to his deceased brother and his wife, Amanda Hill, court documents say.
Hill was given two four-year and one five-year prison sentences, with the execution of the sentences suspended, meaning Hill does not go to prison. Instead, the immediate punishment is supervised probation; however, if Hill continually violates his probation, the judge can choose to execute the sentences and send him to prison. The suspended execution of sentence (SES) means that the charge will remain on Hill’s criminal record, unlike a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS), which allows the charge to be removed from a criminal record if the defendant successfully completes probation.
Domestic assault case
The domestic assault and weapons charges are based on a Feb. 7 incident in which Hill is alleged to have discharged a 12-gauge shotgun while intoxicated and swung the firearm in a threatening manner, and with injuring his wife by punching her in the head and face with his hands, striking her in the abdomen with a shotgun base and choking her with his hands.
According to the probable cause statement in the case prepared by Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Justin Brown, at 4:05 p.m. on Feb. 7, Deputy Steven Ator was dispatched to Hill’s residence on County Road 608A in Gainesville for a report of an active physical assault.
Upon arrival, Ator made contact with Hill and a woman inside the home and noticed that Hill had a laceration to his head. The woman reportedly had red marks on her face and neck.
“During the investigation it was found that Hill had slapped [the woman] in the face, choked her neck, struck her in the abdomen with the butt of a 12 ga. shotgun and repeatedly pushed her to the ground,” Brown wrote. “Hill at some point during the altercation went and retrieved the 12 ga. shotgun and brought it into the room with his wife and minor children.”
Hill then fired three rounds out the window of the house, the statement says.
“He then advised his family that he would kill all of them. Hill then pointed the firearm at his wife and then at his own chin. To get away from Hill, his wife struck him in the head with an oil lamp,” the statement says.
The minor children who were present during the incident were taken to the Child Advocacy Center in Greene County, where they underwent a forensic exam.
“During the interviews, the children advised that Hill had been drinking the night of the incident. One of the children advised that Hill had taken her sister by the hair and threw her into the door of her bedroom because she did not want to go to her bedroom,” the report says.
Because Hill is a convicted felon, it is illegal for him to possess a firearm in any manner. According to court documents, he was charged and convicted of endangering the welfare of a child in Douglas County in 2015.
Property damage at sister-in-law’s home
According to the probable cause statement filed in the case involving the property damage, former Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Vesa Phelan was dispatched at 2:30 p.m. June 9, 2020, to an Isabella business, which is unnamed in the report. Phelan was responding to a woman’s call to the sheriff’s department saying a tall, slender young man wearing a white shirt smeared with blood had approached the business.
The woman “asked the individual if he was okay. At the time, she did not know who he was,” the probable cause statement says. “The man stated to her that she needed to move along because he was in a ‘fighting mood.’”
Phelan spoke with the woman by phone and responded to the site, but the man, later identified as William Hill, had already left.
What the business owner did not know was that 29-year-old Boyd Hill, the younger brother of William Hill, had died in a rollover crash on Z Highway a few hours before the strange encounter.
Boyd Hill, his wife Amanda, and their children lived in a home on County Road 621, not far from the business.
Former Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Urich joined Phelan at the business to help investigate.
While speaking with the reporting party, Deputy Urich and Sergeant Phelan “saw Brian Hill…driving down County Road 621 toward the late Boyd Hill and spouse’s residence,” the report says, clarifying that Brian Hill is a third brother of William and Boyd.
“A short time later, he drove back out. Sergeant Phelan spoke with Brian Hill, and William Hill was sitting in the passenger’s seat. He was wearing a white shirt that had blood on it,” the statement says.
Phelan asked Brian if William, who was wearing the bloody shirt, was OK.
“Brian Hill stated they were all having a hard time with the death of their brother,” Phelan wrote. “William Hill was intoxicated but was calm” while the deputies spoke with him.
The report said that Brian then told the officer “something about fixing all the damage,” which left the officers puzzled. The report says that Phelan thought maybe Brian was talking about damage to the business where they’d been dispatched, but the business owner hadn’t mentioned any damage.
The deputies began to piece the strange conversation together when the sheriff’s dispatch office received a call at 9:19 that night.
“It was reported that a residence had been ransacked and the windows broken out,” the report says. “The reporting party [identified later in the report as Amanda Hill] stated she was afraid to go into the house and needed to get clothes for her stepdaughter.”
Two days later, Phelan met with Amanda Hill, who told the officer that her husband, Boyd, had died in a car accident the day her house was broken into.
“She stated that while she was gone, taking her children to the hospital in Springfield, … her brothers-in-law broke into her house,” the report says. “They broke eight windows, the storm door, smashed a 60-inch television, broke two kitchen chairs, a china cabinet, smashed her husband’s Ronald McDonald cookie jar, took her and Boyd’s marriage certificate and just ransacked the house.”
Amanda told the officer she was unsure at that time if anything else was missing from the home.
The charging document also lists a Kawasaki UTV and a doghouse as being damaged, and it says the interior of the residence was spray-painted with graffiti.
A few nights later, Phelan made a traffic stop on a vehicle.
“It happened to be William Hill and his spouse,” the report says.
Phelan asked the Hills about the damage at the residence and said the property owner, Amanda, wanted to press charges. William told Phelan that he was actually just coming from Amanda’s house, where he had replaced all the broken windows in the residence, “and he thought everything was OK,” the report says.
On July 7, about a month after the initial incident, Amanda Hill reportedly contacted Phelan to discuss the investigation about the property damage.
“[She] indicated the replaced windows were not of the correct dimensions and needed to be replaced,” the report says.
The next day, July 8, Phelan went to Brian Hill’s residence on County Road 831 in Gainesville and interviewed the brother about the alleged property damage. Phelan also served Brian Hill with an ex-parte order of protection and also an order of protection filed against him with Amanda Hill as the petitioner.
“Brian Hill indicated he did not observe his brother cause damage to the property owner’s residence but acknowledged giving him a ride from the area and speaking with a deputy after the fact,” the report says. “Brian Hill indicated William Hill later purchased windows for replacement in the sum of greater than $2,000. Brian Hill expressed multiple individuals participated in the replacement of the windows. Brian Hill indicated there was a problem with the installation of the windows but expressed he would assist in further repairs,” according to the statement.
Before speaking with Brian, Phelan had attempted to reach William but was unsuccessful, the report says. Soon after Phelan arrived back at the sheriff’s office, William came to the office to speak with Phelan.
“William Hill did not directly provide admissions pertaining to damaging windows, the television, motorcycle or any other damages associated with the report,” Phlean wrote. “However, [he] would simply state, ‘I don’t remember’ or words to this effect. William Hill did acknowledge he purchased $2,500 in windows to replace the damages.”
A word from the widow
Amanda Hill reached out to the Ozark County Times in an email in March to describe the situation.
“On June 9th, 2020, at 1:48 p.m., my husband died in a car accident on Z [Highway]. Our three children were in the truck. Two of them got ejected from the vehicle, and my youngest son got lodged behind my husband, Boyd Hill. All three of my children saw their father dead, halfway ejected,” Amanda wrote.
She said that as their middle child was taken by air ambulance to Cox South Hospital in Springfield, she took her oldest and youngest children to get medical treatment for their wounds.
“Few hours later when I was on my way to Kansas City hospital, I got a call from my father and brother stating that my house was broken into and all the glass was broke out of my house,” Amanda wrote. “I couldn’t bring my children home for quite a bit of time due to the damages done to our home. It’s wrong no matter how you want to look at any of this that me and my children had to go through any of this.”