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Five-time killer executed in Alabama electric chair

May 2, 1997

ATMORE, Ala. (AP) _ A man was executed in the electric chair Friday for killing three people after he was refused permission to marry a 13-year-old girl. The slayings came two years after he killed two other people.

Walter Hill, 62, was pronounced dead at 1:13 a.m.

The state Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court had rejected last-minute appeals.

Hill spent 20 years on death row _ so long prosecutors and victims advocates had difficulty finding relatives of the people he killed in Bessemer.

A new Alabama law permits victims’ relatives to view the execution, but none came forward in Hill’s case.

On Jan. 7, 1977, Hill fatally shot Willie Mae Hammock, 60, who refused to allow him to marry her 13-year-old daughter, Toni; Miss Hammock’s stepbrother, John Tatum Jr., 36, and his wife, Lois Jean Tatum, 34. They were shot in the head.

He was convicted and sentenced in February 1980, five years after he was freed from prison in 1975.

Hill served 10 years in prison for second-degree murder and was released in 1961. He later was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to 14 years. While serving time in Atlanta, he was convicted of murdering a fellow inmate.

Toni Hammock still lives in Bessemer, but has never contacted authorities, said Brenda Thomas of the Jefferson County prosecutor’s victims services office.

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