Man accused of murdering stepfather in Casco Township arraigned

By: 
Daniel Pepper

A St. Joseph man didn’t answer his mother’s question when she asked why he’d just shot his stepfather Robert “Mark” Hill. 

Tyler Daniel Smith, 27, was arraigned Thursday, May 25, in Allegan County District Court on open murder and felony firearms charges.

In a probable cause hearing, a Michigan State Trooper described the crime.

Trooper Christian Baker said officers had spoken to Smith’s mother, Christine Hill who said she and her husband had woken up about 7 a.m. Wednesday, May 24, at their home on Blue Star Highway in Casco Township. They’d seen Smith standing outside by his truck in their driveway.

“She said he was just staring into the distance and he responded he was thinking. She again told him to come inside and this time he did,” the trooper testified.

The police said Christine Hill had described to them that her son had come in and walked up the stairs to the bedroom his stepfather was still inside as she was walking down.

“She heard Robert say ‘What are you doing and heard a single gunshot.’

“She ran back up the stairs and saw Tyler in the doorway and her husband was laying there gasping for breath and with a chest wound. She remembers seeing the gun in Tyler’s hand at the time.”

Hill told the troopers she ran downstairs to look for a phone wasn’t able to find one when Smith followed her downstairs and was looking at her.

They said she asked, “Why did you do that?” and got no response.

When she asked, “Are you going to kill me, too?” to her son, who was still holding the.40 caliber pistol he’d used he responded, “No.”

She told troopers she ran back upstairs and called 911 from that phone. Her son again followed her and unloaded the pistol and set it down.

Trooper Baker said Smith had walked out of the home with hands up when three state police officers arrived at the home in response to the call. They handcuffed him and went upstairs where they found Robert Hill with his t-shirt covered in blood, not breathing and no pulse. He was taken to South Haven Community Hospital and pronounced dead there.

At his arraignment, Smith only spoke the words of his not guilty plea. He is being held in the Allegan County Jail without bond.

 

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