Crime

Courtroom Cheers As Man Gets Sentenced To 247 Years In Prison

| by Brendan Kelly
Joseph HillJoseph Hill

A San Diego man was sentenced to 247 years in prison for the murder of a Linda Vista man killed in his own home in 2013.

The courtroom erupted into applause on Nov. 6 as a judge told Joseph Anthony Hill, who was found guilty in the murder of Sean O’Toole, “You’ll never see the light of day again,” NBC San Diego reported. 

Hill, 46, was given the maximum sentence for the murder. According to reports, he was sentenced to 199 years to life in prison, plus an extra 48 years. The courtroom cheered and Hill smirked as the judge revealed his sentence, NBC San Diego reported.

The victim’s mother and brother were among more than a dozen of his loved ones attending the sentencing.

While O’Toole’s family members addressed the courtroom, Hill would not keep quiet. O’Toole’s brother called Hill a coward, and he responded by yelling expletives and calling the victim a bully, NBC San Diego reported.

The victim’s brother and mother spoke before the judge about how O’Toole’s murder has affected their lives. His mother said that her son was a father and now his son will have to live life without his dad.

“Sean was not perfect,” O’Toole’s mother said, according to NBC San Diego. “He never claimed to be perfect. He made some pretty poor choices in his life, and he paid the ultimate price. But he did not deserve to be murdered.”

At one point during the trial, a prosecutor said that Hill showed no remorse for his crime and Hill yelled out in agreement, reported multiple sources.

The judge agreed to O’Toole’s family’s request to enforce the maximum sentence in the case. He ruled that Hill would not be eligible for parole while he spends the rest of his life in prison.

Hill has a long criminal history, including six previous felonies. In addition to murdering O’Toole, he also wounded Travis Bondurant on Dec. 29, 2013. The next day, he was involved in a shootout with officials from the U.S. Marshals Violent Crimes Task Force, who were attempting to take him into custody.

Hill had a trial in April 2015, during which he was found guilty of first-degree murder. Deputy District Attorney Joe McLaughlin told a jury in the trial that Hill “went on a rampage,” beginning with the murder of O’Toole, reported NBC San Diego. According to the prosecutor, Hill shot O’Toole for allegedly “disrespecting” his girlfriend.

O’Toole was dropped off at a local hospital after being shot, where he later died. 

Just hours later, Hill shot and injured Bondurant at a motel in La Jolla over a $200 drug debt, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Hill was also found guilty of the attempted murder of Bondurant. 

On Dec. 30, as police tried to arrest Hill, he hit an officer with his car and pinned him against a parked car. After hitting the officer, a gunfight ensued. Hill was injured in the shootout and was booked into jail a few days later.

Sources: NBC San Diego (2), San Diego Union-Tribune / Photo credit: NBC San Diego