Family’s Attorney: WV State Police Settles Lawsuit Over Teen’s Death

Timothy Hill, an 18-year-old male, was unarmed when Senior Trooper B.D. Gillespie shot and killed him while struggling at the end of Hill’s driveway.  Hill lived in an unincorporated community in Mercer County. 

Hill was walking down the street with two friends at 1 a.m.  Gillespie, who has had past incidents with Hill, saw that wet clothes were thrown on his car after he worked a 14-hour shift and decided that he should put his uniform on and call into the station to go back on duty.  Gillespie stopped the three teenagers and after some questioning let Hill’s two friends go.  After all three denied having thrown clothes on the car and additional questioning of Hill, Gillespie decided to arrest the teen.

Gillespie grabbed Hill by the arm, Hill then pulled away, cursed and started to run.   According to Gillespie, he then sprayed Hill in the face with pepper spray about 6 inches away, but had no effect on him.  A neighbor saw what happened and ran to help the officer and claimed to have immediately felt the effect of the pepper spray.  After all three were fighting, they fell into a drainage ditch at which point, Gillespie claims, Hill started pulling on his holster.

Roughly a year after Timothy died, his parents filed a lawsuit against the West Virginia State Police and Gillespie, claiming that Gillespie disregarded their son’s rights and acted maliciously.  In addition, the family claimed that the investigation was not properly conducted because a fellow officer was involved in the killing.

A tentative agreement has been reached between the West Virginia State Police and the family of a teen killed by the trooper about three years ago.  The lawsuit filed by the parents was set to start trial earlier this week in the Kanawha County Circuit Court.   However, lawyers notified Judge Jennifer Bailey last week about a proposed settlement agreement.  Because of the nature of the lawsuit, citing wrongful death, Bailey will need to approve of any proposed settlement.  There has not been anything turned in that reflects the proposed agreement, however, it was confirmed by one of the Hill’s attorneys, Mike Olivio. 

“The case against Trooper Gillespie and the West Virginia State Police has been resolved by mutual agreement,” Olivio said.  “While nothing can replace the loss of their son, the hill family is satisfied with the outcome of the case.”


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