Denny Ross, convicted in the 1999 slaying of Hannah Hill, has lost his bid for a new trial.
The Ohio 9th District Court of Appeals on Monday issued a 38-page decision, denying Ross a new trial.
The former Springfield Township man was convicted of murder in October 2012, 13 years after Hill was found strangled to death.
The court’s 3-0 decision denied each of Ross’ claims and affirms his lifelong prison sentence.
Ross’ appeal claimed his retrial amounted to double jeopardy, that parts of the indictment were past the statute of limitations, and that the trial judge allowed improper testimony from a woman raped by Ross in 2003.
Ross was serving a 25-year sentence for the rape when Summit County Judge Judy Hunter added a 19-year-to-life sentence for the Hill murder. He will be eligible for parole in 2046.
Hill, 18, of Akron, was killed in May 1999. Her body was found in the trunk of her car parked on Caine Road. Ross was originally indicted with capital murder, but the first trial, in October 2000, ended in a mistrial amid reports of misconduct by a juror.
After the trial ended during jury deliberations, it was learned the jury signed verdict forms finding him not guilty of murder, aggravated murder and rape.
Ross’ appeals over the years have focused on those verdicts.
“Because the original trial judge declared a mistrial in the midst of deliberation, the jury’s tentative verdicts lacked finality,” appellate Judge Beth Whitmore wrote in Monday’s decision. She added that the verdicts were the product of a “tainted” jury.
Ross, now 35, was free on bond in 2003 when he raped the woman inside her home. Meanwhile, years of appeals followed in the Hill murder case before Ross was tried again in 2012.