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High court sets Hill’s execution date

The Ohio Supreme Court has set a new execution date for convicted killer Danny Lee Hill of Warren.

By a 6-1 ruling, the court announced Wednesday it scheduled Hill to be executed July 22, 2026. The date would be more than 40 years after he first was put on Ohio’s death row by a three-judge panel that found him guilty of the 1985 attack, rape and murder of 12-year-old Raymond Fife of Warren.

Justice Jennifer Brunner was the lone dissenter on the high court in setting Hill’s new execution date.

The case has wound its way through various appeals and court pronouncements, with local court hearings to be set to decide whether Hill’s bid for relief on intellectual disability arguments should be debated.

Another bid for relief dealing with bite mark evidence in the Fife murder also is being debated in federal district court.

Earlier this summer, Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins asked the court to set a new execution date.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, however, has set a moratorium on any capital punishment in Ohio over the last two years.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is working on both legal matters and filing motions in hopes of speeding up the process.

Fife’s mother, Miriam, 82, said she hopes she will be able to make it to the death house in Lucasville when Hill is scheduled for execution.

“We hope at age 86, I’ll be able to do that,” Miriam Fife said.

Fife also said she hopes Ohio will get a governor who is willing to carry out the execution.

“We need someone in there who will do anything to get the right drugs to do the job,” she said, noting that Ohio governors in the past had delayed other executions because they said the proper lethal drugs were not available.

Ohio carries out its executions through the lethal injection process. Watkins had noted that other states, such as South Carolina, had set up alternative methods of execution if lethal drugs for injection were not available.

A South Carolina judge earlier this month ruled, however, that death by firing squad and the electric chair violate the state’s constitution, calling them cruel and unusual punishment in an order halting the executions of four death row inmates.

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