Councillor's family relieved accused murderer bail denied

Court: Judge rules Jesse George Hill will remain in jail until October trial

By: Darlene Casten

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014 01:08 pm

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A sigh of relief escaped the lips of an Okotoks mother when a judge decided the man accused of killing her daughter will remain in jail until his trial 10 months from now.

Debbie Sands said she was pleased to see Jesse George Hill was not granted bail on his second attempt for freedom.

Hill is charged with the second-degree murder of Amy Sands, also known as Amyjane Marshall. Amy Sands was a graduate of the Foothills Composite High School, where she performed in Mainstage performances and was an actress with the Dewdney players. However, years of bullying over her weight and a lazy eye took Amy on a bad track, say her parents, and she turned to drugs and at times was associating with dangerous people.

The 27-year-old was killed when a bullet meant for someone else struck her while she was inside a garage in the Calgary neigbourhood of Dover on Aug. 31, 2012.

Hill was arrested a week later and charged with Amy's murder. He was denied bail in December 2012, but following a preliminary hearing in May, Hills lawyer, Adriano Iovenelli appealed to the Court of Queen's Bench to review his bail, saying new evidence had arisen at the hearing and that his client could post a higher bail.

On Tuesday Justice Robert Hall ruled that there was no material change in the evidence given at the preliminary inquiry and ordered Hill to remain in prison until his trial, which will begin Nov. 3.

The evidence given during the preliminary hearing and bail appeal are subject to a publication ban.

Amy's parents, Debbie and Okotok town councillor Ed Sands were in the courtroom Tuesday to hear the judge's decision in Hill's latest bid appeal.

Debbie said it was the right decision to keep Hill locked up.

"I feel relieved," she said. "I have always believed he's guilty and that he should remain in jail."

Hill will be back in court, likely next month to see if Iovenelli can continue to represent him.

The crown prosecutors in the case will be scheduling a conflict hearing as soon as possible, over concerns that in the past Iovenelli represented one of the main witnesses, Amy's ex-boyfriend, Rob Rollins, who she was visiting that night.

During the preliminary hearing a different defence lawyer cross-examined Rollins.

Ed Sands said that procedure was affective during the preliminary inquiry and he wouldn't be opposed to the same thing occurring during the trial.

He added he wouldn't want to see Hill's trial delayed because of Iovenelli being removed as his lawyer.

"I'd rather see it go ahead with him removed from cross examining Rob," he said.

What the Sands are not looking forward to is attending another court hearing.

"It's been a terrible emotional roller coaster," said Debbie, adding she felt this latest bail appeal was unnecessary. "I don't believe there ever was a change in the material evidence. To drag us through all that has been very hard."

Ed agreed, saying they just start moving on when they have to listen again to the details of their daughter's death.

"You get dragged through it all over," he said. "You have to listen to all the facts being read again."

The Sands said while they await Hill's trial they will again memorialize their daughter on the day she died.

Last year they visited her grave at the Okotoks cemetery and released helium balloons that they had written messages on for Amy.


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