Ac­ces­sory to mur­der charges dis­missed

The Expositor (Brantford) - - FRONT PAGE - SU­SAN GAM­BLE EXPOSITOR STAFF

Af­ter more than a week of pre­lim­i­nary hear­ings, charges of ac­ces­sory to mur­der have been dropped against three Six Na­tions mem­bers charged in the death of Brant­ford’s Dou­glas James Hill.

Hill, who was 48 years old, went miss­ing from Brant­ford on June 24, 2017.

His de­com­posed body was found about eight weeks later on Aug. 17, 2017. on the Oneida Na­tion of the Thames ter­ri­tory, near Lon­don.

On July 12, 2017, a Six Na­tions teenager, who can’t be named be­cause she was 17 at the time, was charged with sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in Hill’s death. The fol­low­ing day, Brant­ford’s Holly Martin, now 36, was charged with be­ing an ac­ces­sory to mur­der af­ter the fact.

Other ar­rests fol­lowed. On July 27, 2017, Lori Anne Staats, now 25, of Six Na­tions, was charged with be­ing an ac­ces­sory to mur­der af­ter the fact, as was Ni­cholas Joel Ship­man, 35, of Oh­sweken, who was ar­rested on Aug. 1, 2017.

Ac­cord­ing to a po­lice-sworn in­for­ma­tion, the ac­ces­sory charges re­late to help­ing the teen escape de­tec­tion.

But, on Oct. 4, the charges against Martin, Staats and Ship­man were dis­missed in On­tario Court.

Nu­mer­ous wit­nesses tes­ti­fied dur­ing the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing but a judge found in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to con­tinue to a trial.

The teen will face a trial, which is set to be­gin Nov. 8 in On­tario Court.

The search for Hill was ex­ten­sive and in­volved mul­ti­ple po­lice ser­vices and a he­li­copter hunt over parts of Six Na­tions.

At one point, po­lice said, with­out ex­pla­na­tion, that they were no longer search­ing for a miss­ing man but for a body.

Nu­mer­ous tips came in from the com­mu­nity.

When Hill’s body was lo­cated, Six Na­tions po­lice Chief Glenn Lick­ers thanked those who had pro­vided in­for­ma­tion, along with of­fi­cers from his own ser­vice, the OPP, and Chippe­was of the Thames and Oneida Na­tion of the Thames po­lice for “their con­tin­ued sup­port and co-op­er­a­tion through­out this process.”

The cause of Hill’s death has not been made pub­lic.

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