Hill found guilty in Cotton District sexual battery case

Terry Hill, 44, was sentenced to a total of 105 years in prison after being found guilty on all counts with his involvement= in a 2016 kidnapping, robbery and sexual battery in Starkville’s Cotton District on Thursday in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court.
By: 
LOGAN KIRKLAND
Staff Writer

A jury found a West Point man guilty of sexual battery and other charges following a 2016 incident in the Cotton District.

Terry Hill, 44, was sentenced to a total of 105 years in prison after being found guilty on all counts with his involvement= in a 2016 kidnapping, robbery and sexual battery in Starkville’s Cotton District on Thursday in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court.

Judge Lee Coleman said Hill is required to to serve the maximum sentence of each count because he is a habitual offender.

The sentence consists of 15 years for robbery, 30 years for each count of kidnapping and 30 years for sexual battery. The sentences will run consecutively.

The jury was in session for less than an hour until it came to a final decision.

As Hill was escorted out of the courtroom he shouted profanities and maintained his innocence.

Hill and another suspect, Jerry Talley, Jr. of McCool, were both arrested in May 2016 after witnesses claim they entered a college student’s home where they robbed one student and raped a woman before forcing them both into the bathroom of the home.

Hill’s attorney Stephanie Mallette is making a motion for a retrial.

District Attorney Scott Colom said the outcome of the trial can be attributed to the hard work from both the SPD and the victims who suffered through the trial.

“We were able to to bring Mr. Hill to justice in a little over a year,” Colom said. “This verdict is the result of their courage and hard work.”

Colom stuck with the subject of courage throughout his closing statement to the jury. Colom gave an anecdote about his worries as a father and said he would have nightmares about having his own daughter harmed.

“This is worse than a nightmare,” Colom said. “This is (the victim’s) reality.”

Colom reminded the jury the victim is going to have to live with this action for the rest of her life.

“Give her justice,” Colom said.

Mallette approached the jury and emphasized the importance of looking at the facts rather than emotion.

“This is an emotional case,” Mallette said. “You can’t base your opinion on that sympathy.”

The defense emphasized it was not marginalizing what happened because of the evidence that was presented in court.

Mallette also said each witness avoided mentioning Talley’s name, which should prove to be an important detail in their decision.

“There are some gaps, there are some differences and there are some holes,” Mallette said. “As hard as it is to put sympathy aside, you have to.”

The closing statements ended with Assistant District Attorney Trina Davidson-Brooks saying neither Hill or Talley acted alone.

Davidson-Brooks said both acted together.

Davidson-Brooks said there is no doubt the victim was sexually assaulted by Hill and that the DNA was secured and preserved.

“They’re not victims anymore,” Davidson-Brooks said. “They’re survivors.”

The date for Talley’s trial has not yet been set.

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