Clarence Hill

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Clarence Hill
Florida Department of Corrections file photo
Born 1957
Mobile, Alabama
Died September 20, 2006
Florida State Prison
Starke, Florida
Occupation Convicted murderer

Clarence Hill (1957-2006), a native of Mobile, Alabama, was convicted of the 1982 murder of Pensacola police officer Stephen Taylor and the wounding of Taylor's partner, Larry Bailly, when the two officers responded to a bank alarm. Regarding the crime, Police chief John Mathis recalled, "Hill was out of the bank. He made a conscious decision to come back and ambush (Taylor) and (Bailly)." Nearly 24 years after the crime, after multiple appeals and stays of execution which were widely condemned by local residents, Hill was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

On January 24, 2006, as his execution was just moments away from commencing — Taylor was strapped to a gurney with intravenous lines in his arms — it was stopped by a stay from Justice Anthony Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Hill's lawyer, Todd Doss, had lobbied for the stay on the grounds that the chemicals involved in lethal injection violated Mr. Hill's Eighth Amendment rights, protecting against "cruel and unusual punishment." On June 12, 2006, Justice Anthony Kennedy authored an opinion for a unanimous court in Hill v. McDonough which gave Hill a temporary victory. The Court concluded that Mr. Hill did have the right to make an Eighth Amendment claim against Florida's method of lethal injection, overturning a District Court ruling. The ruling did not declare that the chemical used in lethal injections in Florida was unconstitutional, but it allows inmates to make the claim. However, a district court in Tallahassee and an appeals court in Atlanta refused to hear Hill's challenges, ruling that he should have filed earlier. An appeal was again filed with the Supreme Court, which voted 5-4 on September 20, 2006 to deny another stay.

On September 20, 2006, Hill was executed by lethal injection at a state prison in Starke, Florida. He did not reply when asked if he had a last statement, staring straight at the ceiling.