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Federal judge overturns conviction of Ohio death row inmate

Posted at 5:25 PM, May 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-04 17:25:27-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The conviction of a man incarcerated on Ohio's death row for decades has been overturned by a federal judge who said new evidence would likely result in a jury acquitting the man of brutally killing his 6-month-old daughter.

U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus ruled last month that prosecutors have 180 days to grant 46-year-old Genesis Hill a new trial or release him from prison.

The new evidence includes a 2016 affidavit from a forensic pathologist who testified at Hill's 1991 trial in Cincinnati that indicates the death of Domika Hill was an accident, not murder. Sargus wrote than Amy Martin, the Hamilton County deputy coroner who conducted Domika's autopsy, had made "significant revisions to the expert opinion she offered at trial."

Prosecutors argued that Hill violently shook his daughter, causing several skull fractures. Martin's revised opinion says the girl's injuries are "very consistent" with the arguments Hill's attorneys made: Hill fell off a wall while holding Domika and accidentally crushed the infant's skull with his knee.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office has filed a motion to stay Sargus' opinion as it readies an appeal.

Sargus' opinion also focused on a police report withheld from Hill's attorneys at trial that questioned the credibility of the prosecution's main witness — Domika's mother and Hill's girlfriend. A private investigator obtained a copy of the report from Cincinnati police several years later that cast doubt on the woman's testimony.