Dale Wayne Hill, long the prime suspect in the murder of Stephanie Condon, was acquitted of the crime early this month. I just found out.
Stephanie disappeared in 1998, while babysitting at someone’s house. She was fourteen years old. Her body wasn’t found for over a decade. Then Hill was arrested a short time later. But the evidence just wasn’t there.
I really admire Stephanie’s parents for their remarkably sane and sensible reaction to the verdict. They don’t blame the jury for acquitting Hill; they don’t blame the police or the prosecutor; they’re angry but they don’t want to seek vengeance:
“I want to be perfectly clear: I do not want anything to happen to Hill. Absolutely do not,” Marty Condon said. “I don’t want people to build their frustrations, you know, I don’t want nothing to happen. I want him to live with this for the rest of his life. And I want to help him. I want to help him have a miserable life.”
Condon said that, while they disagree with the verdict, they weren’t surprised.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed in that verdict. I don’t blame the jury, they had a tough job,” Marty said. “They didn’t make the leap in their thought process, but I don’t blame them. Under the rules, I probably would have voted not guilty myself.”
“I have a very strong dislike for the tactics that the defense attorney’s used,” said Condon. “Maybe [they’re] borderline legal, but tasteless.”
Condon said he’s not happy with the outcome, but doesn’t believe there was anything else the prosecution could have done to get a different verdict.
“There wasn’t a single person involved with this investigation that didn’t do their best,” Condon said. “Their hearts were always in the right place. Christine and I were painfully aware of all the legal limitations, as the detectives were very concerned with Hill’s rights, and they wanted to do it right. We just came up short.”
The Condons are ruminating the possibility of a civil suit against Hill. Now that the murder trial is over, they can have Stephanie’s body back and bury her with dignity. It’s been a long time.