Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Man convicted of murder; said victims tried to rape him

Kenneth Wayne Hill. Photo: Sacramento Police Department

Kenneth Wayne Hill. Photo: Sacramento Police Department

A jury in Sacramento Thursday convicted a man of murdering one man and trying to murder another. The defendant, Kenneth Wayne Hill, 36, claimed the victims had tried to rape him.

Hill was homeless August 16, 2015 “when he sliced the neck of Hwan Chong, who was also homeless and mentally ill,” prosecutors said in a November 3 news release announcing the verdict. Hill claimed that Chong had tried to rape him and he was defending himself. Chong got stitches for his wound.

About a month after the first attack, on October 19, Hill fatally stabbed another homeless man, Luis Cortez, again claiming that the victim had tried to rape him, according to prosecutors.

Hill, who was arrested about a week after killing Cortez, initially pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. However, jurors convicted him of first-degree murder and attempted murder causing great bodily injury. They also found that Hill was sane at the time of both attacks.

Keith Staten, Hill’s attorney, said in an email to the Bay Area Reporter, “I am disappointed with the decision of the jury in this case. Mr. Hill was clearly suffering from his mental illness at the time of the incidents. His delusions had no other source than his illness. This case illustrates the failure in our ability as a society to care for and assist the mentally ill who end up homeless and living on our streets. We are using the criminal justice system to determine their fate and solve the problem of those who suffer from mental illness.”

Hill faces a maximum sentence of 39 years to life in prison. Sentencing is set for December 2.

Deputy District Attorney Caroline Park prosecuted the case.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 3, 2016 @ 2:35 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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