Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Leland man sentenced 13 years in prison after guilty plea in wreck that killed two

Eric Lavon Hill
Eric Lavon Hill

A Leland man was sentenced to 13 years in prison following a plea of guilty to murder charges in connection with a fatal single-vehicle wreck in December 2014 that killed a man and woman.

Eric Lavon Hill, 27, entered an Alford plea Monday in Brunswick County Superior Court to two counts of second-degree murder, according to court records. In an Alford plea, a defendant admits no guilt but acknowledges he will be sentenced as if he were guilty.

Hill was charged in connection with the deaths of 22-year-old Anika Aikman and 23-year-old Jonathan Clark, who were killed in the wreck that occurred at the intersection of Willow Pond Lane and Grandiflora Drive in Leland at 4:20 a.m. Dec. 27, 2014. Hill was reportedly driving the vehicle, which hit a tree on Grandiflora Drive and then split in half.

The N.C. State Highway Patrol Reconstruction Team estimated the vehicle was traveling at a speed of 79 mph in the residential area where the speed limit was 30 mph, according to Assistant District Attorney Jamie Turnage. The speed resulted in the “tragic deaths” of the people in the vehicle, she added.

Hill was described by law enforcement to be heavily intoxicated, Turnage said. Marijuana was reportedly found in his possession. Blood tests found a presence of THC, a chemical found in marijuana, and determined Hill had a blood alcohol content of 0.12, above the legal driving limit of .08 in the state.

Eric Hill left the scene of the wreck and did not notify authorities, Turnage said.

Hill was arrested on several felony charges the day of the fatal wreck, including two counts of second-degree murder, an impaired driving charge, two counts of felony death by vehicle, driving while license revoked, reckless driving, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of an open container. He was indicted by a Brunswick County grand jury on the charges Feb. 2, 2015.

As part of his plea agreement, all other charges have been dismissed in the case. Judge Richard T. Brown sentenced him to 156-200 months in the N.C. Department of Corrections. He received credit for 415 days of time served in jail.

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