A sex offender suspected in a 1970 Wisconsin child murder is up for release, but Milwaukee prosecutors are hoping to use the state’s sex offender law to keep the 73-year-old man in custody.
The man, Robert Hill, recently finished serving a 10-year sentence for sexually assaulting four children under the age of 10 between the years of 1995 and 2002, reports The Boston Herald.
Police are trying to keep Hill in custody indefinitely while they figure out a way to charge him for the 1970 murder of nine-year-old Donna Willing.
Police contend that the 73-year-old sex offender confessed to the crime, but has since recanted. They add that Hill knows details about the crime, including Willing’s injuries, that have not been released to the public.
The Boston Globe notes that prosecutors will go before a judge on Monday to argue that the sex offender and a childhood neighbor of Willing should go to trial for her death.
The physical evidence in Donna Willing’s case was lost or destroyed in the 1990s, making it impossible for investigators to connect Hill with physical evidence in the 1970 Wisconsin child murder.
Instead of arguing with evidence, the prosecutors hope to prove that, per the state’s sex offender law, Robert Hill is a sexually violent person who needs to remain in custody indefinitely.
Donald Hill has been suspected of Willing’s rape and strangulation since a cold case unit was formed in 2007 to try and solve the murder. Investigators began to interview him in 2008 about the crime.
The sex offender first told police that he sexually assaulted Donna Willing after she got into his car on February 26, 1970. He confessed that she squirmed and slapped him. He became angry and was afraid she would tell, so he strangled her and dumped her body in a garage.
A second confession, which is outlined in court documents, says that Hill confessed to molesting Donna for years and picked her up that night to have sex with her. When she screamed, he put his hand over her mouth and strangled her.
Despite him recanting both stories, prosecutors believe that they will be able to try Robert Hill for the 1970 Wisconsin child murder based on him knowing more facts about it than they have released.