Belleville News-Democrat: Family of murdered man still holding out hope for justice

On the ninth of December, 2001, John Hill was exiting a Night Club in the East St Louis area around 3:45 A.M when according to police reports he was surrounded by security guards while in his vehicle. Moments later, a shotgun blast through his rear car window would send John to the hospital, where he passed away three days later. The ensuing investigation would be marred by corruption and incompetence, as justice for Hill has never been achieved. This is made all the more painful by the fact that in many eyes, there seems to be a rock solid suspect who was even arrested for the slaying a few weeks after the murder. The suspect being a police officers cousin no less. In fact it’s been reported that the same model of the shotgun used to kill Hill, was found in the suspects trunk. However, further investigation continually stalled, and nothing would come of Kirk Cochran’s(the suspects) arrest. The fact that the suspect was an officers cousin and that the investigation was marred by incompetence and suspicious statements from authorities from the start understandably made many close to Hill believe that a police cover up was in the works. At best, they certainly didn’t believe the police treated Hill like an important human being, fully deserving of justice.

Now over 17 years later, as George Pawlaczyk of the Belleville News-Democrat writes, Hill’s family still is desperately fighting for justice for their beloved family member. I won’t parrot the article here, as it is complex and informative. So I will just link it, so that you may read it. It is well written and delves into who John Hill was as a person, the facts surrounding the case and its investigation, and the areas history of failing to achieve justice for victims like John Hill. The article affirms what many know to be true: That there is a hierarchy of victims, where those at the top of the hierarchy are much more likely to see justice achieved for them than those at the bottom. Race, Gender, and socioeconomic status are all large factors that define whose at the top and bottom of this hierarchy. Many minorities who become victims of violent crimes never see justice,(especially when Law enforcement is involved in the crime) and their cases tragically go cold.


-by Jake Morask

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