Mack Oran Hill, 47, was executed by lethal injection on 8 August in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of his former business partner.
In March 1987, Hill, then 33, visited the residence and auto repair shop belonging to Donald Franklin Johnson, 43. Hill and Johnson had been partners in a number of unsuccessful business ventures. Johnson had just bought a new truck and travel trailer and was showing it to Hill. With Hill was his acquaintance, Herbert Elliot, 34.
According to Elliot's trial testimony, after some time at the shop, Hill pulled a gun from his coat pocket and shot Johnson in the face. He dragged the body to the bathroom and used a knife to bleed the body. He then placed a bag over Johnson's head and torso, removed some car keys and $500 from his pants, and wrapped the body with a carpet and blankets and secured the bundle with neckties. At Hill's direction, Elliot backed his car to the door and Hill put the body in the trunk. They left the scene with Elliot driving his car and Hill driving Johnson's truck.
The next day, Elliot testified, Hill put Johnson's body into a 50-gallon drum, added some water and concrete, and sealed and locked it. The two men put the barrel onto Johnson's truck, hauled it to Amon Carter Lake, and rolled the barrel into the lake. They returned to Lubbock and hired some people to move Johnson's possessions into a storage unit. They moved to another town several hundred miles away, living in Johnson's travel trailer for about a month, then the two separated.
In August 1987, Hill took another friend out to the lake and pointed out the top of a barrel, which was exposed due to the seasonal drop in the lake level. Hill told the friend, Ronny Anderson, that the barrel contained the body of a man who had been shot in the head. Hill used a metal pole to push the barrel into deeper water. Later that month, a fisherman discovered the barrel, which had become exposed again due to a drought. The outside of the barrel read "explosive when wet", so the fisherman alerted authorities. A dive team and bomb specialists were dispatched to the scene. When the barrel was opened, it contained Donald Johnson's body, encased in concrete.
At the time of Hill's arrest, he had been in posession of the victim's truck and trailer for several months.
Mack Hill had previously been sentenced to twelve years in prison for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. He served 3½ years and was paroled in June 1985.
In addition to the testimonies of Herbert Elliot and Ronny Anderson, the trial jury heard the testimony of Hill's wife, Nancy, who testified that Mack Hill killed her stepfather in 1978, wrapped his body in blankets, and dropped it into a dry well. Herbert Elliot testified that Hill had admitted murdering his wife's stepfather and had threatened his own life and the lives of his family members.
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