Casey Loran Hill may not have been alone in the 2016 shooting death of 21-year-old Anthony Kenneth David Glyshaw, but he was alone in sentencing Tuesday.
Explaining that Hill's comments to the court reflected "some acceptance of responsibility and some minimization," 4th Judicial District Judge Eric Bentley handed him nearly the maximum sentence allowed by his plea deal: 32 years. The deal stipulated a prison term of 25 to 35 years in return for Hill's guilty plea to second-degree murder, a lesser charge that does not reflect premeditation.
Bentley said while Hill may not have planned Glyshaw's death, "He is responsible either way. He set into motion the events that led to Anthony's death."
The shooting was prompted during an attempted robbery May 2, 2016, the court agreed.
Hill, a long-time meth user, admitted he was high that night. He admitted to getting a gun with "the Punisher" logo to rob Glyshaw, a dealer he knew would have "a zip" of cocaine and money. Hill also admitted to driving during the drug exchange.
"I'm appalled at my decisions and my behavior," Hill saidin a voice at times shaky and emotional.
But he didn't admit to pulling the trigger. Hill said a third person in the back seat shot Glyshaw.
The court wasn't convinced, citing "significant issues of proof."
Prosecutor Jennifer Viehman said witnesses did see Hill with another person in the hours before and after the shooting, and Glyshaw's girlfriend said she may have seen a shadow in the back seat when Glyshaw drove off with Hill that night. But Viehman said they could never prove a third person was there, and forensic evidence suggested it was nearly impossible that the gun was fired from behind Glyshaw as he tried to scramble out of the car.
Glyshaw was found shot in the neck at Panorama Drive and Castle Road.
Hill's attorneys also did not pursue the claim. While they said they were "confident" a third person was involved and would have named him, they could not prove which of the two held the gun. One thing was clear, they argued, the shooting surprised Hill, leading him to "freak out" and drive away, leaving 1-1/2 ounces of cocaine behind.
Bentley criticized the story, citing Hill's 14-year criminal record, which he likened to "a downhill freight train, and you had taken off the brakes."
"By not giving up the name, Hill is protecting someone who participated equally in the murder or is made up," Bentley said.
Glyshaw's family initially argued in comments to the judge that Hill should have to name his alleged accomplice. "If someone else was in the situation and we allow him to walk the street, how do we know he won't take from another family?" asked cousin Tony Eads. But they changed their minds by the end of the hearing.
"We know there was no other ghost killer," said Glyshaw's aunt Madelaine Ready. "I think the judge did the best he could do for the evidence we had."
The shooting was only a "small window" into Hill's life, his attorneys argued, backing Hill's stories of kindness, such as helping a high school friend after a car crash or pulling a man from a burning building. Those good deeds are partly why Bentley said he didn't order the full 35 years.
"It's a seed of hope that someday you may be able to turn your life around," Bentley told Hill.
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