A panel of federal judges has set a date on whether or not Danny Lee Hill should be executed for torturing, raping and murdering a 12-year-old Warren Boy Scout.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the Hill case on December 5.

Hill was sentenced to death for the 1985 murder of Raymond Fife in a field in Warren. However, the Sixth Circuit Court earlier found that Hill was showing signs of mental impairment, including an IQ ranging from 48 to 71 and childish, confused and irrational behavior.

Because a 2002 United States Supreme Court ruling declared the execution of people with intellectual disabilities unconstitutional, the death penalty for Hill was taken off the table.

The Trumbull County Attorney’s Office took the appeals court’s decision to the United States Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case, but found several “loopholes” in the court’s decision. ‘appeal from the Sixth District and referred the case back to the appellate judges for reconsideration.

At the center of the debate is how the appeals court delivered its decision. The Supreme Court argues that the Sixth District “relied repeatedly and extensively” on a death-punishable murder case involving people with intellectual disabilities.

However, the Supreme Court justices ruled that this specific Moore v. Texas was not decided until well after the Hill case.

Trumbull County Attorney Dennis Watkins says all nine US Supreme Courts have agreed that the Sixth District Court of Appeals “did not properly apply the law.”

The question now, according to Watkins, is whether the “correct law” would carry the death penalty when applied to the Hill case.

Watkins says state courts that ruled on the case under current laws have concluded that Danny Lee Hill should be executed for the crime.

Hill, who was 18 at the time of the crime, went to jail at 19 and is now 52.

According to court records, on September 10, 1985, at approximately 5:15 p.m., Raymond Fife left home on his bicycle to visit a friend, Billy Simmons.

After learning that the 12-year-old had not arrived at his friend’s house by 5:50 p.m., Fife’s family started looking for him.

Raymond Fife’s father found his son more than four hours later in a wooded field behind the Valu-King supermarket on the road to Palmyra.

The child was naked and appeared to have been severely beaten and his face was burnt. Raymond’s underwear was found tied around his neck and appeared to have been set on fire.

Raymond died in hospital two days later.

The coroner, who said Raymond’s death was a homicide, said during the trial that the victim was strangled and had a brain hemorrhage. The coroner also said Fife suffered multiple burns, damage to his rectal bladder and bite marks on his penis.

Thanks to the testimony of three high school students from Warren Western Reserve, the jury learned that Danny Lee Hill and Timothy Combs were in the Valu-King area and the bike paths the night Raymond Fife was assaulted. One of the students had also seen Fife riding a bicycle in the store parking lot.

A student who said he saw Combs on the trail also said he heard a child’s scream. Another student says he saw Combs pull up the zipper of his blue jeans.

Two days after Fife’s discovery, then-18-year-old Danny Lee Hill went to Warren Police Station to inquire about a $ 5,000 reward offered for information regarding the murder.

According to Police Sergeant Thomas Stewart, Hill told him that he had just seen some of his acquaintances on Fife’s bike. When Stewart asked Hill how he knew the bike belonged to Fife, Hill replied, “I know it does.”

Sergeant Stewart testified that during their conversation it became apparent that Hill knew a lot about the bike and the underwear found around Fife’s neck.

The following Monday, September 16, Hill attended the police station accompanied by his uncle, Police Detective Warren Morris Hill.

Police said after relinquishing his rights to Miranda, Danny Lee Hill admitted on audiotape and videotape that he was present during the beating and sexual assault of Raymond Fife, but that Timothy Combs everything done to the victim.

Combs was ultimately convicted of criminal sexual penetration, arson, rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder.

As Combs was 17 at the time of the crime, he was not eligible for the death penalty and was serving a life sentence until his death in prison last year.

Hill was convicted of the same charges, but being 18 when Fife was assaulted, he was sentenced to death.