Donna Hill case goes to grand jury this week

CORINTH – The Alcorn County district attorney will present the Donna Hill death case to the grand jury this week.
Aaron Hastings Jr. of Corinth and Amanda Wilbanks of Selmer, Tenn., were charged in November 2009 with improper disposal of a corpse, after Hill’s body was found in the Tuscumbia River in Alcorn County on Oct. 25.
Both suspects had been charged in McNairy County, Tenn., on charges of kidnapping and theft, after a car rented by Hill, of Ramer, Tenn., was found in Wilbanks’ possession.
“I don’t understand how it’s possible that no one has been charged with murder,” said Hill’s daughter, April Kazmi of Georgia, in a Tuesday telephone interview.
Kazmi said the Alcorn County district attorney told her on Monday that they only have evidence now to support the improper disposal of a body charge.
However, Kazmi believes Tennessee has much more.
“Amanda pleaded guilty to kidnapping and theft, and they dropped the assault charge (in Tennessee),” Kazmi said. “She was sentenced to three years for the kidnapping and two years for theft, but they let her out after six months.”
There’s evidence, she said, that Hill actually died in Tennessee and not in Mississippi where her body was found, but the district attorney general has adamantly refused to pursue the case further.
“My concern at this point that Tennessee has pressed all the charges they’re going to press,” Kazmi said. “They’re not going to press murder charges even though all the proof is in Tennessee.”
Clouding the issue is the medical examiner’s report, which Tennessee officials waited months to receive from Mississippi. Kazmi said she was told the examination was contracted out from Mississippi to a medical examiner from Texas.
“They’re basically blaming one another,” Kazmi said. “Amanda said mom was alive when they came to Mississippi, but Aaron’s statement is that my mom was dead in Tennessee when they put her in the car, because they had beaten her so badly.”
However, the medical examiner’s report mentions drowning, which the Tennessee authorities are using to get out of pursuing murder charges, Kazmi believes.
“What can we do?” she asks. “There are just a lot of things that don’t add up, and it’s hard to be patient.”
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal