PETERSBURG, Va. -- Jurors are deliberating the fate of a Petersburg quadruple murder suspect who was on the run for a year before he was apprehended in a homeless shelter in an upstate New York church.
Alexander Hill Jr. is accused of killing a family of four and then setting their home ablaze in early morning hours of April 19, 2014.
Victims in the quadruple murder were Pauline Wilkins, her daughter Vicki Chavis Ansar, granddaughter Tanique Davis and great-grandson Delvari Chavis; they were 67, 46, 22, and 2 years old, respectively.
Hill is accused of stabbing Wilkins and Ansar 34 times before setting the house they were in on fire. That resulted in the deaths of Davis and Chavis.
It took Judge Joseph Teefey about 30 minutes to go through the 43 instructions he had for the jury before they walked out of Petersburg Circuit Court at 1:35 p.m. begin their deliberations.
As the Commonwealth and defense wrapped up Thursday morning, the jury heard closing arguments, which lasted about two hours.
The defense argued evidence was planted by officers and told the jury that Hill is innocent. In fact, defense attorneys argued that police looked at Hill early on as the only the suspect.
They said that the fact that Hill ran away does not mean he is guilty.
However, prosecutors countered that claim by playing a recording of the 911 call made from inside the house the night of the murders, which brought sobs from family members.
Lawyers told the jury Hill threatened to kill family members of his ex-girlfriend and that a cellphone belonging to the defendant found in the backyard of the home proves his guilt.
Hill, who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt after the murders, was captured in April of 2015 in a homeless shelter at a church in Buffalo.
If convicted Hill faces life in prison in the capital murder trial. Prosecutors declined to say why they were no longer pursuing the death penalty, citing pre-trial publicity which could influence potential jurors.
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