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DECATUR — A Decatur man who pleaded guilty to a role in the repeated beating and torture of a 30-year-old woman was sentenced to 3½ years in prison Thursday.

Charles E. Hill, 57, pleaded guilty in Macon County Circuit Court to a single charge of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony, as part of a plea deal negotiated by his attorney, Christopher Amero. Judge Jeffrey Geisler sentenced Hill to 42 months in the Department of Corrections and dismissed three other felony charges.

Hill had earned the plea deal after agreeing to testify for the prosecution in the trial of Demariel T. Cunningham, 37. Prosecutors said Hill helped Cunningham administer the beating as part of a torture ordeal at an eastside home that went on for hours April 22, 2017. The victim had also been burned with a heated knife blade and repeatedly raped by Cunningham, and her body had been left with cracked ribs, extensive bruising and scarring, prosecutors said. 

After Hill’s testimony, a jury convicted Cunningham Dec. 14 of one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault causing bodily harm and another count of aggravated criminal sexual assault while armed with a wooden stick, both Class X felonies. He was also convicted of one count of armed violence with a knife, another Class X felony, and a count of armed violence while armed with deadly weapons. He was further convicted of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and one count of aggravated unlawful restraint.

Cunningham is due to be sentenced April 30 and could face up to 70 years in prison.

Geisler had been the trial judge and told Hill Thursday that he was aware he had kept his side of the plea agreement.

In addition to the 42-month sentence, the judge agreed to add a prosecution recommendation “as to where you will be housed.” The idea is to try and ensure Hill’s safety by keeping him away from any prison where he might be subject to revenge attacks because of his testimony.

But before Hill was led away, Geisler warned him that while a recommendation can be made, “this court has no control over that.”


Staff Writer

Courts and public safety reporter for the Herald & Review.

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