Denton man gets life for attempted murder
DENTON — A Denton man convicted of a first-degree attempted murder of one woman and first-degree assault of another woman was sentenced to life in prison Friday, Jan. 13, in Caroline County Circuit Court.
Sean P. McGill, 45, received the life sentence for the attempted stabbing murder last May of his ex-girlfriend, Heather Hill. He received an additional consecutive 25year sentence for assaulting Jackie Roach, a friend who tried to help Hill during the attack; another three years for false imprisonment; and the balance of an earlier reckless endangerment sentence, three and a half years, for violating the terms of his probation.
McGill attacked Hill and Roach with a knife May 19, 2016, outside the home of a mutual friend on Andersontown Road in Denton. Hill and Roach had gone to visit the friend not knowing McGill would be there, police said.
When Hill and McGill began arguing, police said, the homeowner asked them to leave. The argument continued outside, where McGill threw Hill to the ground, bit her nose and dragged her back to the front porch. McGill then re-entered the home through a window, while Hill and Roach ran to another house to get help.
McGill ran up behind the women at the neighbor’s house, police said, and punched and stabbed Hill in the neck. Police said McGill chased Roach too, when she yelled at him to stop, and punched, hit and stabbed her in the hand.
McGill then ran off, and Hill collapsed, bleeding heavily from the neck and head.
Hill, 33, of Greensboro, and Roach, 53, of Camden, Del., attended the sentencing hearing and gave victim impact statements.
Roach said she remembers every day the sight of Hill, lying on the porch, blood pouring down her neck, saying, “I’m going to die.”
“I watched him do what he did to Heather,” Roach said. “He should have to pay. He’s ver y dangerous.”
Officers from the Denton Police Department and Maryland State Police provided crucial initial treatment to Hill that night at the scene. She was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma for treatment. Despite the stab wound to her jugular vein, she survived.
Hill chose to let Interim Caroline County State’s Attorney Joseph Riley read her victim impact statement.
In it, she said she has medical expenses to pay for her treatment, bad scars on her face and neck, loss of use of her right thumb and suffers from PTSD, nightmares and a lack of ability to trust anyone.
“I’m afraid if he gets out, he’s going to come after me,” Hill said.
Hill said she needs to be protected from McGill.
“Make sure this doesn’t happen again to me or to any other woman,” Hill wrote.
Riley asked for a life sentence for McGill, citing his history of domestic abuse, not just with Hill, but in an earlier relationship with a woman in Delaware.
In 2014, Riley said, McGill broke Hill’s arm, but Hill did not want to prosecute. Instead, she blamed herself for making him so angry. The state’s attorney’s office convinced her to pursue a lesser charge of reckless endangerment, for which McGill was convicted and given five years of probation.
Hill got a protective order, Riley said, which McGill violated multiple times by calling her.
Riley said the defense might try to argue McGill did not deserve a life sentence because Hill survived, but that was no thanks to McGill, who ran and hid, and later claimed he was the victim.
Following the sentencing, Riley released a statement, calling domestic violence a scourge on the community, state, country and society in general.
He said he hopes victims in Caroline County take advantage of resources, like St. Martin’s Ministries in Ridgely, which shelters female victims and their children and also helps women work toward their GED or find a job.
Domestic violence is not the victims’ burden to bear alone, Riley said.
“This problem will persist as long as men and boys treat violence as a solution to domestic conflict,” Riley said. “I hope and pray that we can move more to a society that condemns all violence toward women, and it is no longer glorified or, perhaps worse, ignored.”