Jamie Mills was sentenced to death and remains on Alabama death row for the murders of an elderly couple. According to court documents Jamie Mills and his common wife JoAnn Mills decided to rob the couple. During the course of the robbery Jamie Mills would murder Floyd and Vera Hill. Jamie Mills would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Jamie Mills 2021 Information
Inmate: MILLS, JAMIE RAY
Institution: HOLMAN PRISON
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During the late afternoon of June 24, 2004, the defendant, 30 year old Jamie Ray Mills, and his common-law wife, JoAnn Mills, went to the home of Floyd and Vera Hill on County Road 54 in Guin, Marion County, Alabama, for the purpose of robbing them․ Mrs. Hill, 72 years old, was diabetic and in poor health and was cared for by her husband of 55 years, Floyd Hill, a spry gentleman 15 years her senior. At 87 years old, Mr. Hill cared for the needs of his ailing wife, to include administering her prescription drugs, which he kept in a locked tackle box on the kitchen table. To ensure that her prescription drugs were administered properly and timely, he set his alarm clock to alarm every four hours. Although the Hills lived alone, their adult grandchildren who resided in the area frequently checked on their grandparents. Although both Hills were retired, they frequently held yard sales, no doubt more so to keep themselves occupied and working than to augment their Social Security income. Mr. Hill was known by the employees of the local Amoco service station (where defendant Mills was last employed prior to the murders) to carry large sums of cash in his pocket, always paying for his gas in cash.
“ ‘Though Mills denied knowing either of the Hills, there was evidence from which the jury could have concluded that Mills, out of work at the time, certainly did know the Hills and preconceived a plot to rid them of their cash ․ and, then brutally executed them with a machete, tire tool and ballpeen hammer. A detailed factual account of this horrendous, gutless and cowardly act follows.
“ ‘Shortly after dark on June 24, 2004, following repeated failed attempts by Angela Jones to check on her grandparents by phone, Jones went to the residence of her grandparents, Floyd and Vera Hill. It appeared as if the Hills were home; however, the door was locked and knocks on the door resulted in no response. Angela summoned the Guin Police Department for a welfare check. Officer Larry Webb arrived at the residence in approximately three or four minutes. Upon Webb’s arrival, he was informed by Angela Jones that her family had spoken to the Hills shortly after 2:00 p.m., at which time they were fine. Officer Webb and Mrs. Jones then knocked on the doors and windows with no response from the Hills. Webb called the Hills’ home from his cell phone. It was detected that the phone was ringing on his cell phone, but there was no noticeable ring coming from inside the Hills’ home. Officer Webb then shined his flashlight into the house from the front porch, and Angela noticed that Vera Hill’s bed was empty and made, and her walker was in the living room. Mr. Hill’s alarm was sounding for Mrs. Hill’s medication, but no one stirred in the home. Mrs. Jones became fearful that something was terribly wrong. Webb then moved to the pre-fabricated building on the property (enclosed with x-type lattice and polyethylene type plastic) where the Hills had yard sale items stored. Because the door was padlocked, Webb pulled a small bench to the door and climbed up on the bench to look over the door.
“ ‘Officer Webb saw Floyd Hill lying on his back at the rear of the building in a pool of blood with a bloody towel thrown over his face. Mr. Hill’s walking cane was across his lower legs. Webb then saw Vera Hill lying on her right side just inside the door. She was in a pool of blood and her head and face were bloody. Vera Hill moved her left arm.
“ ‘At approximately 8:42 p.m., Webb notified 911 to send an ambulance, and then called for additional backup (Guin Police Chief Bryan McCraw and District Attorney Jack Bostick). Webb cut the plastic wall and tore away the lattice to gain entrance into the building where he checked Vera Hill’s condition. She was still breathing. Webb moved to Floyd Hill and found him to be cold to the touch with no pulse. Webb then noticed several long bloody gashes on Mrs. Hill’s head. When asked what happened, Vera Hill repeatedly stated, “Let me out of here.” Once medical assistance had arrived, Vera Hill was transported by ambulance to the Winfield hospital. Floyd Hill was pronounced dead at the scene.
“ ‘The scene was secured and a joint investigation was initiated by the Guin Police Department, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, and the Alabama Department of Forensic Science. The crime scene was processed, photos were taken, blood samples were collected, and Vera Hill’s clothing and fingernail clippings were obtained.
“ ‘During the processing of the victims’ home and belongings, it was discovered that Floyd Hill’s wallet, Vera Hill’s purse, and a green padlocked tackle box containing Vera Hill’s medication had been taken from the residence along with a police scanner, and the Hills’ phone, which had been cut from the phone line.
“ ‘․ Upon completion of the autopsy of Floyd Hill, the cause of death was determined to be blunt and sharp force injury to the head and neck.
“ ‘Vera Hill later died on September 12, 2004 at the home of her daughter, Brenda Barger, while under the care of Hospice, two and a half months after having been transferred from the Winfield hospital to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, where she was treated for brain injuries, a depressed skull fracture on the back of the head, fractures around her left eye, fractures to the nasal cavity, broken/fractured neck, and crushed hands․ Upon completion of the autopsy of Vera Hill, the cause of death in her case was determined to be complications of blunt head trauma.
“ ‘At approximately 11:15 p.m. on June 24, 2004, Marion County District Attorney Investigators Tommy Moore and Ken Mays interviewed the Hills’ next door neighbor, Jennifer Yaden, at which time they were informed that Yaden had noticed a white late model four-door sedan going by her house several times earlier that day. She also observed this same vehicle parked in the Hills’ drive. At approximately 12:05 a.m. on June 25, 2004, Investigators Moore and Mays returned to the crime scene and discussed with Guin Police Chief Bryan McCraw and Officer Larry Webb the information they had obtained from Yaden. Both McCraw and Webb advised the investigators of a local man named Jamie Mills who drove a white car matching that described by Yaden. At this point, a patrol unit was sent to the residence of Jamie and [his] wife, JoAnn Mills, but it appeared as if no one was home. Investigator Moore asked Chief McCraw to send a car to the Mills[es]’ residence on a regular basis to see if the Mills[es] were home for questioning.
“ ‘At 9:45 a.m. on June 25, 2004, Guin Police Department Officers G.B. Blaylock and Stanley Webb arrived at the Mills[es]’ residence to find Jamie and JoAnn Mills attempting to leave their residence in a small white 1990 two-door Nissan Infiniti M30. The officers pulled crossways of the drive, blocking the Mills[es]’ attempted exit. Officer Blaylock then asked Jamie Mills to back the car up in the drive so that Blaylock could talk to him. After doing so, Jamie Mills was then transported to the Guin City Hall for questioning about his whereabouts on June 24, 2004. At this time, Jamie Mills denied any knowledge of the Hills and stated that he and JoAnn were in Brilliant on June 24, 2004 looking at houses prior to going to his father’s home ․ where he and JoAnn spent the night.
“ ‘Marion County District Attorney Investigator Ted Smith and District Attorney Jack Bostick arrived at the Mills[es]’ residence to question JoAnn Mills, who was on probation at the time, regarding her whereabouts at the time the Hills’ attack occurred. While being questioned by Investigator Ted Smith, JoAnn Mills gave consent for the search of the Mills[es]’ home, white two-door sedan, and the trunk of the vehicle. In plain view in the car trunk was a green tackle box with a cut padlock matching the description of the tackle box in which Vera Hill’s medication was kept. Also in plain view was a large blue duffel bag that appeared to be splattered with blood. At this time, JoAnn Mills was read her Miranda rights, but she waived her rights and gave a statement. Guin Police Chief Bryan McCraw and Officer [Larry] Webb were then called to the residence and a search warrant was obtained. The search was conducted by officers from the Marion County Drug Task Force, the [Alabama Bureau of Investigation,] and the Guin Police Department. During this time, Jamie Mills was transported back to his residence where he was later placed under arrest for capital murder and transported to the Marion County Jail.
“ ‘The search of the items contained in the vehicle’s trunk revealed that the green tackle box contained numerous pill bottles with prescriptions belonging to Vera Hill. The duffel bag contained an assortment of items including one large concrete block, one pair of size 12 tennis shoes with bloodstains on them, one bloodstained pair of work pants with Jamie Mills'[s] name on the inside tab, one black t-shirt with bloodstains, one pair of size 51/212 tennis shoes with bloodstains, one telephone with cut cord attached, one man’s wallet containing the driver’s license of James Floyd Hill, one ladies’ purse with papers identifying it as Vera Hill’s, one machete with blood and hair on it, one ballpeen hammer with blood on it wrapped in paper, and one lug nut tire tool. The items from inside the trunk were itemized and photographed before the car, toolbox, duffel bag and contents were handed over to forensic science for examination.
“ ‘DNA analysis was later performed on the machete, hammer, tire tool, black t-shirt and black pants. Test results revealed that the primary source of blood found on the machete matched that of Floyd Hill and the secondary source matched that of Vera Hill. The blood found on the ball-peen hammer matched that of Vera Hill. The blood found on the tire tool was a mixture, with Vera Hill being the major contributor and Floyd Hill being the minor contributor. The blood on the black t-shirt matched that of Vera Hill. The blood on the pants (containing the tab with Jamie Mills'[s] name) matched that of Floyd Hill.
“ ‘On August 22, 2007 during the trial of defendant Jamie Mills, JoAnn Mills testified that on June 23, 2004, she and her husband, Jamie Mills, had stayed up all night smoking methamphetamine at their residence. On Thursday, June 24, 2004, they stayed at their residence until around 5:00 p.m before going to Webster’s Market grocery (7270 U.S. Highway 43 in Guin, Alabama) to buy cigarettes. After the cigarettes had been purchased, she and Jamie left Webster’s and stopped in Fred’s [discount] store parking lot to talk to JoAnn’s cousin, Brandy West. After leaving Fred’s parking lot, Jamie told JoAnn that he was going to talk to a man about some money and for her to just follow his lead. Upon reaching the Hills’ residence around 5:15 p.m., the Hills allowed the Mills[es] into their home where Jamie attempted to make several phone calls from the Hills’ phone as JoAnn sat and talked with the Hills. According to JoAnn, Mr. Hill obviously knew Jamie and referred to him by name. After Jamie had used the phone and both couples had talked for awhile, Vera Hill wanted to show JoAnn Mills some of their yard sale items that were stored in their shed. Due to the rainy weather, Floyd Hill unlocked the padlocked building and opened the door while Vera Hill, Jamie Mills and JoAnn waited on the porch. Floyd Hill then returned and gave the women the umbrella so they could go on to the building. Floyd Hill went back into the house to get a light fixture and then returned to the building. After the Hills had shown the Mills[es] their sale items, Jamie Mills continued to talk to Floyd Hill in the shed while the two women proceeded to walk back to the porch.
“ ‘JoAnn Mills then testified that she heard a loud noise and saw a silhouette through the building’s plastic siding of what appeared to be Jamie Mills with something raised over his shoulder “with both hands, as if he was swinging something.” JoAnn Mills then followed Vera Hill back into the shed to see what had happened. Upon entering the shed, JoAnn saw Floyd Hill lying on the ground and saw Jamie Mills hit Vera Hill in the back of her head with a hammer. When Mrs. Hill attempted to get up he struck her again with the hammer.
“ ‘JoAnn further stated that she stood with her eyes closed in the corner of the building as she listened to the sound of Jamie Mills repeatedly striking Floyd and Vera Hill. She could hear the sound of Jamie’s feet scuffling on the ground as he went back and forth between the two victims. After the sounds of Jamie striking the Hills stopped, JoAnn Mills was then handed a hammer, a tire tool, and a machete by Jamie Mills and witnessed Jamie Mills place a white towel over Floyd Hill’s head to silence the gurgling sounds coming from Mr. Hill. Jamie and JoAnn Mills then exited the shed. Jamie padlocked the door shut and the two went back into the Hills’ home. Inside the Hills’ home, Jamie and JoAnn went through the house and took a padlocked tackle box, Vera’s purse, the phone, and the police scanner before leaving the residence and returning to their residence on County Road 83.
“ ‘Upon reaching the Mills[es]’ residence, Jamie brought all the items from the Hills’ residence into the kitchen. JoAnn took a shower. Jamie and JoAnn then went through the items taken from the Hills’ residence (wallet, purse, medication contained in the green tackle box) and placed them along with the hammer, tire tool and machete in a bag. The Mills[es] recovered about $140 cash from the Hills. Jamie then took a shower and called Benji Howe, a known drug abuser in the area. Benji Howe came over to the Mills[es]’ home and purchased some pain pills. After Benji left the Mills[es]’ residence, Jamie and JoAnn placed the bag containing the items from the Hills’ residence in the shed on their property before going to Jamie’s father’s residence in Hamilton, Alabama, to play dominos and spend the night.
“ ‘The next morning, June 25, 2004, Jamie and JoAnn Mills returned to their residence to find that dogs had torn into the bag containing the bloody items from the Hills’ residence. JoAnn retrieved a large blue duffel bag and the Mills[es] placed into the bag the machete, hammer, tire tool, telephone, wallet, purse, the clothes the Mills[es] had worn at the time of the attacks, and one heavy cement block. The Mills[es] then placed the duffel bag in the trunk of their car along with the green tackle box. As the two were leaving the residence to obviously dispose of the duffel bag and tackle box, they were stopped by Guin Police Officers G.B. Blaylock and Stanley Webb.’ “
— So.3d at —-.
Following a jury trial, Mills was convicted of three counts of capital murder.1 After a sentencing hearing, the jury recommended, by a vote of 11-1, that Mills be sentenced to death, and the trial court accepted the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Mills to death. Mills appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals.