Accessory to murder charges dismissed
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.