A jury found a Joliet man guilty of fatally shooting a 32-year-old man two years ago in the city’s southeast side.
On Friday, Nathaniel Hill, 43, was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Derrick Williams-Scott on June 12, 2020, outside of a residence in the 1100 block of South Richards Street. Hill was also found guilty of unlawfully possessing a firearm after he was convicted of a felony.
The jury trial lasted three days.
Hill faces a mandatory minimum of 45 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life, according to Will County State’s Attorney spokeswoman Carole Cheney.
Hill is slated to appear in court on Sept. 7 for sentencing and any post-trial motions.
Williams-Scott was shot by Hill after the two men argued and Williams-Scott struck Hill, according to prosecutors. Before that incident, Williams-Scott had entered Hill’s vehicle for a ride home after his girlfriend, Florine Hale, called the police on him.
During closing arguments, Will County Assistant State’s Attorney James Long told the jury that Hill was angry, agitated, armed with a gun and not in fear for his safety.
Long said after Williams-Scott struck Hill during their fight inside Hill’s vehicle, it brought Hill “to the boiling point,” before he shot him.
Long said use of force that may cause death or great bodily harm is only justified when a person believes such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves or another.
“This is not a situation where someone is coming at [Hill] with a club or a bat,” Long said.
Long said in Hill’s phone call to Hale, he tried to play dumb when she confronted him about shooting Williams-Scott. He said Hill never told Hale that he was in fear for his life during his altercation.
Hill’s attorney, David Drwencke, said Hill’s girlfriend, Cassandra Dorris, gave inconsistent statements on what happened during the incident and didn’t see the shooting even though she was in the vehicle.
“She didn’t even turn her head when she hears the gunshots,” Drwencke said.
Drwencke said Williams-Scott was intoxicated and attacking his client, who fired his gun and wasn’t entirely sure if he struck Williams-Scott. He said Hill had a reasonable belief that his “life and limb” were in danger.
“My client’s reasonable belief, what’s going on in his mind, is what matters,” he said.
Source: The Daily Chronicle