60 Freeway Killer Pleads Guilty to
Two More Murders
By Christine Pelisek - Laweekly.com
The "60 Freeway Killer" pleaded guilty today to
killing two women, more than twenty years ago. Ivan Hill, 48, was
already serving a death sentence for the strangulation murders of six
women who were found dead along the Pomona (60) Freeway when DNA linked
him to the two additional murders.
Pomona Superior Court Judge Charles Horan sentenced
the former forklift operator to life without the possibility of parole
for the strangulation murders of 35-year-old Lorna Reed, who was found
dead in an open field in San Dimas in 1986, and of Rhonda Jackson, 23,
whose body was discovered in a trash bin in a parking lot in Pomona in
1987. The convictions bring Hill's known body count to nine.
Hill was dubbed the 60 Freeway Killer because he left
his victims' bodies along the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar, Walnut, Pomona,
Chino and Ontario.
He was sentenced to
death in 2007 for the murders of Roxanne Bates of Montclair, Betty Sue
Harris of Pomona, Helen Ruth Hill of West Covina, Donna Goldsmith of
Pomona, Cheryl Sayers of Ontario and Debra Brown of Los Angeles. The
women were killed during a three-month span in 1993 and 1994. After Hill
was found guilty in 2007, his mother asked the jurors for leniency
because she alleged Hill was savagely beaten by his father as a child.
'60 Freeway' serial killer
sentenced to death
March 22, 2007
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A man convicted of the ''60
Freeway Slayer'' serial murders was sentenced to death Wednesday for
killing six prostitutes whose bodies were found in cities along the
freeway route east of Los Angeles.
There was ''overwhelming'' evidence that Ivan J. Hill
murdered the women, Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler said.
''Each of these victims was stalked, if you will,''
the judge said.
Hill, a 45-year-old former forklift operator, was
convicted Nov. 17 of six counts of first-degree murder for killings
committed in 1993 and 1994. He was charged in 2003 after DNA evidence
linked him to the killings while he was serving time in state prison for
At trial, jurors heard a recorded telephone call to a
police dispatcher in which Hill acknowledged killing a woman and said
her body was in an Ontario park. In a second call, he warned: ''Y'all
better catch me before I kill again.''
At his sentencing, Hill listened intently as family
members of the victims condemned him.
''I can never forgive you and I will never forget,''
said Toni Goldsmith, who was 15 when her mother, Donna L. Goldsmith, 35,
of Montclair, was strangled.
''I hate you. I hope you rot in hell,'' Toni
Goldsmith's daughter, Precious, told Hill. ''... You look as if there's
no hurt in you.''
Hill was asked by the judge if he had anything to say
but replied, ''No, your honor.''
In addition to Goldsmith, Hill was convicted of
killing Roxanne Bates, 31, of Montclair; Helen Ruth Hill, 36, of Pomona;
Cheryl Sayers, 34, of Ontario; Betty Sue Harris, 37, of Pomona; and
Debra Denise Brown, 33, of Los Angeles.
The judge rejected a defense request to reduce the
sentence to life in prison without opportunity of parole.
''I acknowledge the gravity of these crimes. I
acknowledge the number of these crimes,'' attorney Jennifer Friedman
However, she said Hill was shaped by abuse he
suffered as a child.
The defense has said Hill also saw his father shoot
his mother to death on Christmas Day in 1968.
Deputy District Attorney John Monaghan countered that
the killings were ''well-thought out acts by Mr. Hill.''
''We may not ever understand why he did what he did.
But we do know the result of what he did,'' the prosecutor said.
The judge noted the abuse but said it was not enough
of a mitigating circumstance to save Hill's life. Prosecutors had said
he was suspected of several other killings for which he was not charged.
The judge noted that Hill's criminal history included
robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He was serving time in state
prison for those crimes when he was charged with the killings.
60 Slayer abused as child
December 15, 2006
The mother of convicted serial killer Ivan Hill told
jurors Monday that her son grew up in an abusive home, where he
regularly received savage beatings from his father and was forced to
become the man of the house by age 10.
Testifying in the penalty phase of her son's multiple
murder trial, Bessie Hill said Ivan endured his rocky childhood without
complaint. She then told jurors she hoped they would spare her boy's
"I don't want to see him die," she said. "He's my
Jurors convicted Hill last month of six counts of
first-degree murder for the strangulation killings of six women. The
victims, mostly prostitutes, were killed during a three-month span in
1993 and 1994.
Their bodies were then dumped in cities along the 60
Freeway between Ontario and Industry.
The victims were Roxanne Bates of Montclair; Betty
Sue Harris of Pomona; Helen Ruth Hill of West Covina; Donna Goldsmith of
Pomona; Cheryl Sayers of Ontario; and Debra Brown of Los Angeles.
The same jurors who convicted Hill of the killings
are now hearing additional evidence in Los Angeles Superior Court to
help them decide whether Hill deserves the death penalty or life in
prison without possibility of parole.
Hill's lawyers called his mother to the witness stand
Monday to perhaps win Hill some sympathy. They projected childhood
photos of the convicted killer on a large screen in the courtroom
throughout his mother's testimony.
During her testimony, Bessie Hill shared with jurors
a seemingly endless string of stories about Hill's troubled childhood,
most centering around physical and mental abuse by Hill's father,
Ivan was the second oldest of her five children.
Being the eldest boy, he received the harshest beatings from his father,
"I felt like it was because he was, quote, trying to
make a man out of him," Bessie Hill said.
The mother said the abuse started when Hill was only
a few weeks old.
He cried a lot as an infant, and his father would
place a heavy pillow over his head at night to drown out the noise.
By the time he was a toddler, his father had taken to
whipping him with belts and tree branches for even the most trivial of
infractions, such as wetting his pants, she said.
She said William Hill whipped the children on their
bare bottoms. The more they cried, the longer he whipped, she said.
"I would approach him and say, `That's enough,"' she
said. "That's when he would turn on me."
Aside from enduring the beatings himself, Ivan also
saw regular fights between his parents, most of which ended with his
father punching his mother in the face, Bessie Hill said.
The violence in the Hill household hit its peak on
Christmas night 1968 when Hill was about 7 years old, Bessie Hill
That night, William and Bessie got into yet another
fight while the children were in a nearby bedroom. After the typical
slapping and punching, William Hill pulled out a .22-caliber rifle and
shot his wife in the face.
That incident landed his dad in jail and his mother
in the hospital. Bessie Hill refused to press charges, however, and dad
came back home.
Within a few years, Hill's parents separated. Bessie
said she worked two jobs, leaving Ivan Hill to tend to his siblings when
he was 9 years old.
"He was kind of left to be the man of the house," she
One of few places he could escape from the troubles
of home was at his grandparents' house, Bessie Hill said. But even these
getaways proved abnormal, as Hill's grandmother enjoyed taking the
children to the local funeral parlor to look at dead bodies, Bessie Hill
Jurors are permitted to consider Hill's upbringing to
help them decide upon a penalty. They are also allowed to weigh
aggravating factors, such as Hill's lengthy criminal record.
Prosecutors are pushing for the death penalty.
Besides the obviously heinous nature of the six
killings, they say DNA evidence suggests Hill strangled at least two
Hill also has a 1979 murder conviction for the
shooting death of a clerk during a Glendora liquor store robbery.
He also has six robbery convictions.
Testimony in the penalty phase of his murder trial is
set to resume today in Los Angeles Superior Court.
60 Slayer convicted of murders
November 21, 2006
A serial killer who stalked and strangled at least a
half-dozen women was convicted of six counts of first-degree murder
The verdicts mean Ivan Hill's trial will move to a
second phase where the jurors who convicted him will decide whether he
deserves the death penalty or life in prison without parole for the
brutal 1990s killing spree.
"I'm very thankful for the verdict," said Toni
Goldsmith, whose mother, Donna, died at Hill's hands 13 years ago this
week. "We've been waiting for this for so long. I feel the death penalty
will do him some justice. Let him feel what he did to other people."
Hill was dubbed the "60 Slayer" because the bodies of
his victims were all found in cities along the 60 Freeway.
The women, all African American, were left dead in
parks, parking lots and along roadsides between Ontario and Industry
during a three-month span in 1993 and 1994.
The killings remained unsolved until 2003, when new
DNA tests linked Hill, 45, to the killings. He was in prison for robbery
at the time.
Jurors deliberated about three days before announcing
their verdicts Friday afternoon in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
Besides the first-degree murder convictions,they also
found true special circumstances that Hill committed multiple murders
and has a prior murder conviction.
Hill's lawyers conceded during a three-week trial he
killed the women, but they claimed the killings did not amount to first-degree
They asked jurors to convict Hill of second-degree
murder, saying he strangled his victims in acts of cocaine-fueled
compulsion that were beyond his control.
Hill would not have faced the death penalty if jurors
convicted him of murder in the second degree.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, portrayed Hill as a heartless
killer who took joy in his victims' suffering.
All of the victims were strangled, some by hand and
some by ligature.
Some of them died with their hands or feet tied and
their mouths taped shut.
The victims, mostly prostitutes, were Helen Ruth Hill
of West Covina; Roxanne Bates of Montclair; Betty Sue Harris of Pomona;
Donna Goldsmith of Pomona; Cheryl Sayers of Ontario; and Debra Brown of
The penalty phase of Hill's trial is scheduled to
begin Nov. 29.
At that phase, prosecutors plan to present evidence
that Hill killed at least two additional women.
Relatives of many of the victims also will be allowed
to testify about the effect the killings had upon them.
Deputy District Attorney John Monaghan declined to
comment on the verdicts Friday afternoon because the second phase of the
trial is still pending.
Jennifer Friedman, one of two attorneys who defended
Hill, also declined to comment.
'Catch me before I kill again,' suspect taunted
October 25, 2006
The voice on the phone taunted police, "better catch
me before I kill again," and described the location where officers could
find the body.
Jurors listened to the recordings in court Monday as
Deputy District Attorney John Monaghan gave his opening statements in
the serial murder trial of Ivan Hill, who is charged with killing six
women in 1993 and 1994 and dumping their bodies along the Pomona Freeway.
Hill, 45, acknowledges placing the calls, and his
defense attorney acknowledges that Hill killed the women.
But defense attorney Jennifer Friedman disputes the
prosecution's claim that he killed them intentionally, which would make
him eligible for the death penalty.
"Compulsive acts are not deliberate acts. ... They're
not done after careful thought and weighing," Friedman told the jury. "Look
at those killings. Listen to that phone call."
Prosecutors say one victim was strangled by hand and
the other five had ligatures around their necks, which Monaghan said
indicated Hill planned the killings.
In the recording of Hill's phone call to police, he
was heard telling a 911 dispatcher he "did it again" and describing the
location where he dumped the body.
"I did, um, what's this, number five or six, I forget,
but she's out there," Hill said. In a second call, he asked why it was
taking so long for officers to reach the scene. "Y'all better catch me
before I kill again," he said.
Hill was linked to the victim by DNA testing and
charged in November 2003. At the time, he was in prison for robbery,
attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, and had been set to
be released in three months.
Linked by DNA, Man Admits to 6 Slayings
October 15, 2006
The man accused of being the "60 Freeway Slayer," who
terrorized the San Gabriel Valley in the early 1990s by strangling six
woman, won't dispute that he is the killer as his trial gets underway
The revelation, contained in court papers, ends the
13-year mystery of who was responsible for the grisly killings, which
all took place in communities along the Pomona Freeway.
Ivan J. Hill, who was linked to the crimes a decade
later through DNA evidence, will center his defense not on whether he
committed the crimes but on whether he should get the death penalty.
Prosecutors outlined in court papers how Hill
allegedly roamed the San Gabriel Valley late at night looking for
He worked by day as a warehouse "romper" in a series
of low-paying industrial jobs in and around the area. At night, he often
cruised the gritty streets near Mission and Holt avenues in Pomona
looking for prostitutes, officials said.
It was there that Hill allegedly victimized half a
dozen prostitutes whose discarded bodies turned up along a 30-mile
section of the 60 Freeway corridor stretching from the City of Industry
Hill will not deny that over a 10-week period
beginning in November 1993, he killed Betty Sue Harris, Roxanne Brooks
Bates, Helen Hill, Donna Goldsmith, Cheryl Sayers and Debra Denise Brown.
Instead, the case will focus on whether the crimes of
the so-called 60 Freeway Slayer constituted first-degree murder
deserving of the death penalty.
Lawyers on both sides would not comment for this
article. But they provided the outlines of their respective cases last
week before a pool of about 300 potential jurors in the courtroom of Los
Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler.
Hill's defense team is expected to call several dozen
witnesses who will speak to the defendant's troubled background.
Using medical experts, they will also make the case
that Hill's actions could not have been premeditated because of his
mental condition at the time of the killings.
Prosecutors will let Hill's extensive criminal
background as well as the grisly details of the killings — including
that victims were tied up and strangled with ligature — make the case
Hill's victims, all African American and in their
30s, were strangled and their bodies dumped in industrial areas, city
parks or by roadsides.
Some were found with duct tape over their mouths,
others with their ankles or wrists bound.
When the slayings began, authorities first denied a
But when Pomona police detectives discovered the body
of Sayers, 36, in the Ganesha Park section of Pomona early on Dec. 30,
1993, it was a moment of clarity for authorities.
Sayers was the third woman found dead in Pomona in
less than a month with a similar background — prostitutes who dropped
out of school at early ages, were unmarried mothers with spotty work
histories and minor criminal records.
They then knew they were dealing with a serial killer.
Investigators with the Pomona, Upland and Ontario
police departments and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department began
working together to investigate the slayings.
They were able to link two other homicides that of
Harris, 37, of Pomona, who was found dead Nov. 1 in a business park in
Diamond Bar; and Bates, 31, of Pomona, who was found Nov. 5 on a rural
road in Chino to the same killer.
Even so, they had no suspect.
In early 1994, the murder spree ended. That coincided,
prosectors now contend, with Hill going back to prison after his arrest
and conviction for a series of armed robberies.
In March 2003, a DNA sample from biological evidence
gathered in the Harris slaying was linked to Hill.
That was followed by five other "cold hits."
Deputy Dist. Atty. John Monaghan is expected to
introduce tape of a 911 call made by Hill to Pomona police that led
authorities to the body of victim Brown on Jan. 12, 1994. She was found
face down in San Antonio Park in Ontario.
Also, jurors will see the letter that Hill wrote to a
relative from jail when he was being interviewed about the killings in
He said, "I knew this day would come when they came
with the DNA samples."
Ivan J. Hill