The people's voice of reason

Alabama executes Jamie Mills

On Thursday, the state of Alabama executed Jamie Mills for the 2004 murders of Floyd and Vera Hill.

After the U.S. Supreme Court legally cleared the execution of Jamie Mills to move forward, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) informed Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm that she would not exercise her clemency powers in this case and directed Hamm to proceed with the lawfully imposed death sentence for Mills for the senseless 2004 capital murders of Floyd and Vera Hill.

"Almost 20 years ago, the grandchildren of Floyd and Vera Hill, worried for their grandparents, filed a missing-person report only for police to discover the couple had been brutally and horrendously beaten to death," said Gov. Ivey in a statement. "The Hills' lives were taken at the hands of Jamie Mills. The evidence in this case is overwhelming, and Mr. Mills is undoubtedly guilty."

"Tonight, two decades after he committed these murders, Jamie Mills has paid the price for his heinous crimes," Gov. Ivey continued. "I pray for the victims and their loved ones as they continue to grieve."

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) also issued a statement after the execution of Mills at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore on Thursday.

"Tonight, Jamie Mills was executed by lethal injection after having been convicted by a jury of his peers of the heinous murder of Floyd and Vera Hill of Marion County," Marshall said in a statement. "In 2004, Mills brutally attacked the Hills in their backyard shed and left them to die as part of a senseless robbery-murder. I extend my deepest sympathy to the Hill family as they have endured the unimaginable for nearly 20 years as they awaited justice to finally be served."

"The depth of violence experienced by Mr. and Mrs. Hill at the hands of this murderer cannot be understated," Marshall explained. "Mills used a machete, tire tool, and ball-peen hammer to mercilessly end the lives of two people. His actions were cold and calculated, and his assigned punishment has never been more deserved."

AG Marshall cleared the execution to commence at 6:12 p.m. CDT.

Mills was officially pronounced dead at 6:26 p.m. CDT.

In June 2004, Floyd and Vera Hill lived in Guin. Floyd, "a spry gentleman" of 87, cared for 72-year-old Vera, who was diabetic and otherwise in poor health. As Vera needed several medications, Floyd set an alarm to administer them every four hours, and he kept her pills in a locked tackle box in the kitchen. Though the Hills lived alone, their adult grandchildren checked on them frequently. The Hills also held yard sales, and Floyd was known to carry large sums of money on his person. The employees of the local Amoco gas station certainly knew this, as Floyd always paid in cash.

Jamie Mills lived near the Hills with his common-law wife, JoAnn. While he was unemployed in June 2004, his last job had been at the Amoco that Floyd frequented. On June 23, Mills and JoAnn stayed up all night smoking methamphetamine. The next day, they remained at their house until 5 p.m., when they went to a local shop to buy cigarettes, then proceeded to the Hills' home with the intent to rob them.

Floyd apparently knew Mills, as he greeted him by name and allowed the visitors into his home to make several phone calls. After the two couples talked for a time, Vera took JoAnn to their shed to show her some items stored for a yard sale. Floyd unlocked the building, which was constructed of plastic siding, and the four looked around. When the women returned to the house, the men remained in the shed, talking. JoAnn then heard a loud noise and turned to see a silhouette through the plastic that looked like Mills swinging something over his head. She and Vera rushed to the shed to find Floyd on the ground. Mills hit Vera in the back of the head with a hammer, and JoAnn claimed that she stood in the corner with her eyes closed while Mills repeatedly struck the elderly couple. When Mills finished, he gave JoAnn a hammer, a tire tool, and a machete, and he placed a towel over Floyd's head to quiet the gurgling sounds the dying man was making. Mills locked the shed, and the two stole several items from the house: the tackle box with Vera's pills, Vera's purse, Floyd's wallet, a phone, and a police scanner-netting a total of $140.

When the Hills' granddaughter was unable to reach them by phone shortly after dark, she drove by the house and ultimately called the police for a welfare check. Floyd's alarm for Vera's medicine was ringing in the house, and Vera's walker was still in the living room. An officer found the shed locked and climbed onto a bench to look over the door, where he spotted Floyd and Vera lying in pools of blood. He broke through the plastic to reach the victims. While Vera was still moving, Floyd was pronounced dead.

Investigators from the district attorney's office spoke with the Hills' next-door neighbor, who reported that she had noticed a white, late-model four-door sedan pass the house several times earlier that day, and she had seen it in the Hills' driveway. Shortly after midnight on June 25, the investigators spoke with Guin police officers, who mentioned Jamie Mills, a local man who drove a car matching that description. During a search of Mills' car and residence, they found the tackle box with its cut padlock in plain view, plus the blood-splattered duffel bag. The tackle box still contained pill bottles with Vera's prescriptions, while the contents of the duffel bag included Floyd's wallet and driver's license, Vera's purse, and a pair of bloodstained work pants with Mills' name on the inside. The hammer had blood on it, while the machete bore traces of blood and hair.

The medical examiner found that Floyd died of blunt- and sharp-force wounds to his head and neck. Floyd's body showed multiple facial and scalp lacerations, including the "near total amputation" of his right ear. He had horizontal incised wounds and blunt-force wounds to the front of his neck and deep injuries to his airway. He also sustained injuries to his left arm and hand, and two fingers had been broken. Vera was taken to the hospital and treated for brain injuries, a depressed skull fracture, facial fractures, a broken neck, and crushed hands. She was sent home bedridden, incontinent, and with a feeding tube, and she could not answer questions. Vera died of complications from her head trauma on September 12, 2004, less than twelve weeks after Mills attacked her.

At trial, the prosecution presented overwhelming evidence of Jamie Mills' guilt. He was convicted of capital murder by a jury of his peers and, in accordance with the jury's recommendation, sentenced to death for his heinous crime.

 

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