Second Person Found Guilty in Piedmont Teen's Murder21-Nov-2016
The last time anyone saw Piedmont teen Anne Josette Hill, 16, was in April 2014. Hill told her mother she was going to watch movies at a friend's house, but she didn't return home and didn't return her mother's worried calls or texts.
It seemed that Hill had simply vanished. At first, many believed the girl was a runaway, but when her car turned up abandoned in Edmond nearly a week later, police began to worry that the girl was the victim of foul play.
Still, months went by with no sign of Hill, and with no real suspects in the case.
But approximately six months after the teen's disappearance, another teen went with her father to an Edmond police station and reported that she had been present when Anne Hill was murdered.
The girl, Chloe Thomas, was 17 when she told police that she and another teen, Chadd Raymond, then 16, had lured Hill to the apartment Thomas shared with Raymond's older brother in order to rob her. She says that Raymond began texting Hill, pretending to be his older brother and flirting with her, because Hill reportedly was romantically interested in the older Raymond. Thomas says that Raymond told her that he would sell her some cocaine so that Hill would bring cash when she came to the apartment.
Instead, of meeting the older Raymond, however, Hill found Thomas and Chadd Raymond at the apartment. She stayed for a while, Thomas said, but when she got up to leave, Raymond began to choke her.
Eventually, says Thomas, Raymond decided that they had to kill the girl so that she could not testify against them for beating and robbing her. Thomas accused Raymond of choking Hill to death; Raymond, who pleaded guilty to first degree murder in a plea deal, said Thomas killed the girl.
Raymond's plea deal came shortly after Thomas's confession. He received 35 years in prison for his confession to first degree murder, with the stipulation that he testify against Thomas.
Thomas continued to plead not guilty to first degree murder, and last week, a jury considered her case at trial. As part of the evidence, the jury watched
video of Thomas's interrogation by police, when she told them, "It's not my fault. … I didn't even want to be there."
At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found Chloe Thomas, now 19, not guilty of first degree murder for her involvement in Hill's death; however, they did find her guilty of second degree murder. The jurors seemed to believe that Thomas was not involved in planning either the robbery or the murder of Anne Hill; however, they understood that she was present when the murder took place and she helped Raymond dispose of the body.
Oklahoma law defines second degree murder as follows:
Homicide is murder in the second degree in the following cases:
1. When perpetrated by an act imminently dangerous to another person and evincing a depraved mind, regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual; or
2. When perpetrated by a person engaged in the commission of any felony other than the unlawful acts set out in Section 1, subsection B, of this act. (21 O.S. 701.8)
Second degree murder is punishable by 10 years to life in prison. While jurors believe Chadd Raymond to be the sole killer of Anne Hill, his plea agreement with prosecutors left him with a lighter sentence than Chloe Thomas. He is sentenced to 35 years for first degree murder; jurors recommended a sentence of life in prison for Thomas's second degree murder conviction.
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