By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Newberg teen sentenced to secured youth facility

 (Friday, June 24 story)

Hill was found culpable, the equivalent of a guilty verdict in adult court, of two counts of attempted first-degree assault and one count of attempted unlawful use of a weapon.

Collins presided over the four-day bench trial, held without a jury. He heard testimony that indicated Hill, who did not take the stand himself, planned to kill at least 100 members of the staff and student body.

The OYA facilities and their locations are:

Eastern Oregon, Burns; Hillcrest, Salem; MacLaren, Woodburn; North Coast, Warrenton; Rogue Valley, Grants Pass, and Tillamook. Collins said Hill would first be transferred to Hillcrest. A juvenile official said that could happen Monday, but no later than Tuesday.

Collins said Hill will be under OYA supervision until he is 26 years old, but that doesn't mean he will be confined to a secured facility for that length of time.

The judge deemed Hill too big a risk to himself and the public to refer him to a less-restrictive community-based treatment program.

"It's what you make of it," Collins told Hill in sentencing him. "It's up to you to see how you take it from here."

Hill told Collins he was sad and heartbroken by the decision. However, he made it clear that he's ready to turn his young life around.

"I've been waiting four months to move on and take the next steps," Hill said. "I thank you for allowing me to move on, and go somewhere else where I can get the help I need."

Before he was escorted out of the courtroom and returned to the juvenile detention facility to await transfer to OYA custody, Hill turned and addressed family members and friends who were seated behind him. Many sobbed while he spoke.

"It's OK," he told them. "It sucks that it had to happen, but I'll get help. Thank you for your support. You'll always be in my heart."

Deputy District Attorney Michael Videtich called only one witness during the two-day hearing, juvenile probation officer Charles Terry, who has supervised Hill.

He characterized Hill as a "high risk" to hurt himself and others, and recommended Hill be placed in an OYA secured facility. They were referred to as "lockdown facilities" throughout the hearing.

Defense attorney Paula Lawrence of McMinnville first called Sherry Payne, who identified herself as a para-professional, and works with Newberg High School's Behavioral Intervention Program.

She testified a secured facility would be an inappropriate placement for Hill, claiming he would "shut down" in such an environment.

"Her comments are hers as an individual and do not speak for Newberg High School or the school district," district spokesperson Claudia Stewart said.

Faith Van Horn, who testified during the trial, returned to the stand for the hearing. She called Hill her "higher power," and said he is her best friend. She said he always cheered her up.

Hill did not testify during the trial, but Lawrence put him on the stand for the hearing. He repeated over and over that he never intended to carry out the shooting plan. He said he has just always wanted to be a "normal kid."

Lawrence also called on Dr. Robert Stanulis, a psychologist, who said he interviewed Hill for two or three hours and also spoke with his mother.

He said placement in a secured facility would be the wrong choice for many reasons, and said he needs the structure of a community-based facility to succeed.

Stanulis said Hill has been "underserved" in the area of mental health treatment.

In closing, Videtich said Hill would benefit from the structure of a secured facility. Allowing him any freedom in a community-based setting would not be appropriate, he said.

Lawrence said a secured facility should be a last resort and not a first resort for Hill. She said there is no evidence to prove a a secured facility can address his needs.

"Order him to a community-based facility and follow up with review hearings on three and six-month intervals," Lawrence said.

See Tuesday's print edition for additional details.