Charlene Hill: 'I feel very humbled' by probation decision


by Shern-Min Chow / 11 News

Posted on March 28, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 28 at 12:30 PM

HOUSTON—A woman who pleaded guilty in the shooting death of her husband and was sentenced to probation on Friday after reaching a deal with prosecutors is now telling her side of the story.

Charlene Hill shot her husband Danny Hill on Nov. 14, 2006 in their Richmond home.

For two trials Hill claimed self defense. In the first trial, the jury hung 11 to 1; and during the second trial Hill agreed to plead guilty an instant before the jury told the judge they had found her guilty unanimously.

Hill, whose case became a courtroom drama that hit national news magazines, maintains she was abused for nearly 30 years by her husband, an ex-con. Hill received probation and 600 hours community service, with no prison time.

"In a lot of relationships it’s a slow progression that starts with, ‘your hair’s not right, your makeups not right, your cooking isn’t right,’ a belittling," Hill said.

Prosecutors and Danny Hill’s family argued whatever his actions, the shooting was really about money. Charlene Hill inherits what was a $2 million estate.

"The truth is Charlene Hill would not divorce my son because that meant having to lose some of what we all know is more precious to her, money," said Barbara Graham, the victim’s mother.

Hill’s oldest son testified again her. Now she hopes to reconcile with her children.

"It is now basically up to them," said Hill.

After a civil suit over the family finances and three years of estrangement, it seems unlikely. But Hill has already gotten one miracle.

"This was basically a plea bargain that ended in almost a magical moment," she said. "I feel very humbled by it."

The judge granted Hill deferred adjucation for 10 years while she completes the terms of her probation. He will then decide on her guilt or could dismiss the case entirely.