CHARLESTON –A proposed settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against the West Virginia State Police after a teenager was shot and killed by a trooper in 2014.
Last week, attorneys for the plaintiffs and the defendants informed Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey that they had come to a tentative settlement deal. Bailey has to approve of the settlement before it is finalized. The trial had been set to start this week.
Timothy Hill was only 18 when he was shot and killed by State Trooper B.D. Gillespie on June 13, 2014.
Timothy Hill’s parents, Michele L. Hill and Robert E. Hill Jr., filed the lawsuit against Gillespie and the West Virginia State Police Nov. 3, 2015, in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The Hill family and Gillespie lived in the same neighborhood in Kegley and the Hills alleged Gillespie ad taken a particular interest in Timothy Hill’s behavior in the years prior to the incident.
There had been at least one prior run-in between the two that involved Timothy Hill riding his dirt bike in front of Gillespie’s home.
Gillespie also made threats to Michele Hill regarding issuing her a ticket for setting their trash out too early for pick-up, taking Timothy Hill to jail and stating that he could do what he wanted to do to those who "caught his eye," like Timothy Hill, according to the 2015 lawsuit.
The Hills alleged their family generally felt bullied by Gillespie and believed he was out to get Timothy Hill based on his frequent criticisms of Timothy Hill’s behavior, his threats and his treatment of the Hill family and other neighbors in the area.
On June 13, 2014, in the early hours of the morning, Timothy Hill had trouble sleeping and left his home to meet up with two friends.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., Timothy Hill and his two friends were walking up the Hill family’s driveway when Gillespie approached them in his cruiser, they stopped walking up the driveway and stopped across from the mailbox to talk with Gillespie.
Gillespie immediately began to question the three boys about a prank that had occurred earlier that evening and each of the boys denied participating in the prank.
Gillespie then told the other two boys to leave because he wanted to question Timothy Hill alone and, Gillespie then attempted to handcuff Timothy Hill and sprayed him in the face with pepper spray, but when that did not affect him, he struck Timothy Hill in the head with his baton.
A neighbor heard the commotion and came out to offer help and, during the course of the struggle, the three individuals fell into a drainage ditch, landing in a body of water, and, perceiving the tussle to be over, the neighbor left Gillespie and Timothy Hill in the water and began to climb out of the drainage ditch.
Gillespie then "pulled out his gun, aimed it at an unarmed teenager who was not under arrest, and fired his weapon at Timmy, hitting him in the head," the complaint states.
Gillespie then fired a second shot, hitting him in the chest.
The Hills alleged that Gillespie did not attempt to provide any medical care to their son and did not check to see if he was still alive and, instead, left him face down in the water, which is the position his body was in when the paramedics arrived.
The Hills were represented by Robert V. Berthold Jr. of Berthold Law Firm PLLC; and Michael A. Olivio and Stephanie H.D. Mullett of Olivio Law Firm PLLC.
The proposed settlement has not been filed with the court yet.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 15-C-1966