PETERSBURG, Va. – — The man accused of killing a family of four on April 19, 2014, and avoiding police for more than a year appeared in court Thursday, wearing a bulletproof vest.
Alexander Hill Jr. has capital murder charges for the deaths of 67-year-old Pauline Wilkins, 46-year-old Vicki Chavis-Ansar, 22-year-old Tanique Chavis and two-year-old Delvari Chavis in a home on Harding Street in Petersburg.
Hill was the subject of a nationwide manhunt. His connection to victims is that he was an ex-boyfriend of Vivian Chavis, who lived at the home, but was not there when the violence unfolded.
Hill was captured in a homeless shelter at a church in Buffalo, New York in April.
On Thursday, the judge denied several defense motions, including that the death penalty is unconstitutional.
The defense also presented evidence in hopes to have a change of venue.
The judge ruled that the trial will be held in Petersburg, and said the defense had not provided sufficient evidence that Hill would not get a fair trial.
The judge also denied a request to suppress evidence in the case due to an officer’s lack of details in the affidavit to the magistrate for a search warrant of Hill’s home.
The judge did not rule on the cameras in court request. There are other motions that will be heard at a later date, possibly a July hearing.
The horrific murders
Investigators found the bodies of three adult females and a two-year-old infant in the Harding Street home around 3:30 a.m. on April 19, 2014.
Police said that one of the female victims died from approximately 20 stab wounds, two female victims were severely burned and the two-year-old infant died of smoke inhalation.
Massive Amount of Evidence
Petersburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Cassandra Conover said previously that the case against Hill will involve a massive amount of evidence gathered at the crime scene and the victims’ causes of death.
“We have difference types of deaths involved in this case,” Connover said. “The stabbing versus the suffocation with inhalation of smoke.”
Suspect Captured at Buffalo Mission
Hill had been living and working at the church in Buffalo for the past month, according to the U.S. Marshals. Hill was arrested at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy. A man, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted Buffalo television station WIVB after seeing a story about Hill’s arrest. The volunteer opened up about his experiences with Hill.
The volunteer said he had no idea Hill was accused of murdering four generations of one family inside a Petersburg home in April 2014.
“After a while, he was helping out at the church, and the church has a homeless shelter for women and children. And reading about what he did, especially with that two-year-old, it broke my heart,” the man said. “He seemed like an honest person. He seemed like a family person. He talked about his family. He said he was a family guy. He had a girlfriend.”