1970 Wisconsin Child Murder Suspect Could Remain in Custody Indefinitely

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(Photo: Wisconsin Department of Corrections)Suspect Robert Hill.

A man suspected of a 1970 Wisconsin child murder, who is currently behind bars for other child sexual offenses, is soon scheduled to be releasd. However, a wave of backlash and strong feeling from the family of a separate nine year old victim, believes that he should remain behind bars.

The suspect, Robert Hill, has recently completed a 10 year sentence handed down after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting four children between 1995 and 2002, according to the Boston Herald. Each of those four children were under the age of 10 when the assaults occurred.

However, despite his impending release, police believe he is the main suspect in a 1970 Wisconsin case where a nine year old girl was raped and murdered. Milwaukee prosecutors are now looking for ways to use the state's sex offender laws to keep the 73 year old man in custody indefinitely until they can put together a case against him for the murder of Donna Willing in 1970.

According to reports, police officials are arguing that Hill actually confessed to the crime in the past, but has since recanted his confession. They believe he was telling the truth when he confessed as it was found that he knew details about the crime, including certain injuries to the nine year old that was not in the public's knowledge.

Prosecutors are scheduled to go before a judge on Monday to argue that Hill should go on trial for the young girl's death, even though physical evidence in the Donna Willing case was lost or destroyed in the 1990's. The lack of evidence means it has now become impossible for prosecutors to link Hill to her death using physical evidence and could allow him to be set free.

Knowing they cannot rely on physical evidence, prosecutors are planning to argue that the state's sex offender laws allow Hill to be kept in custody indefinitely if he is labeled as a sexually violent person who could remain a threat.

In 2007 a "cold case" team was put in the Willing case, and they interviewed Hill in 2008 about the crime. Police say that he first admitted to sexually assaulting Willing after she got in his car on Feb. 26, 1970. He even allegedly described the attack, saying she slapped him, making him angry. He allegedly said he feared she would report his attack so he strangled her and dumped her body in a garage.

Court documents also state that he made a second confession, saying that he had confessed to molesting the girl over a number of years. He said at that time that she screamed as he attacked her and so he put her hands over her mouth and strangled her to keep her quiet.

Police say that he has since recanted both confessions, but prosecutors still hope to charge him based upon other facts they chose not to disclose publicly at this time.