Appeal For DNA Testing

By: Donetta Hill

My name is Donetta Hill. I am a 31-year-old black woman and the mother of two daughters, ages 8 and 11. I am from Philadelphia, but for the past six and a half years I have been living at Muncy State Prison for Women, on death row. I am writing to you to ask you for your support and to ask for help from anyone who is willing to assist me in any way you can.

In April 1992, I was put on trial and sentenced to death for two separate homicides that I had nothing to do with. From the time I "took myself" to the police homicide division, through my trial, and up to now, I have always maintained my innocence. Before my trial, my commonwealth trial attorneys failed to investigate any information to support my claims of innocence.

At the trial, the prosecutors claimed to have evidence that put me at two separate crime scenes which both involved murders. Despite these claims, they did not produce any evidence to show the court, the judge, or the jury. They said that blood and hair were found at the scene of one of the crimes that didn't match that of the deceased. But my attorney did not have any scientific test done on me to prove that the samples were not mine. They said that DNA tests were not necessary and that, in any case, the state would not pay for these tests.

I would like to point out that in the past few years several innocent people who spent years on death rows throughout the United States have been freed because they were finally able to have DNA testing done. All of these cases have been men. I am one of the women who could also be free if I were allowed to have such testing.

At the other crime scene, prosecutors claimed a photo ID of me was found. But again, they did not have this evidence to show the court, the judge, nor the jury to support their claim. They did not produce a photo ID card of me, and they had no property receipt to show that such a card existed. My family brought my photo ID card to the courtroom the same day this claim was made, and the very next day, my ID card was missing and has still never been found.

In my years on death row, I have already had the horrible experience of being served with two death warrants. I am trying to find someone who will help me get DNA testing done because I believe this is the only way that my innocence will be proven. Although I have requested this of the public defenders representing me, my request is still being ignored and denied. If you wish to help, you can request this for me by writing to this address:

Attention: Attorneys of the Capital Habeas Unit
Federal Court Division-Defender Association of Pennsylvania
437 Chestnut Street, Suite 502
Lafayette Bldg.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Or you may call (212) 928-0520 requesting that I be allowed to have DNA testing to prove my innocence, so that I may return to my two daughters who need me, as soon as possible, and resume my life as a mother outside of this institution.

Thank you for your time and attention to this.

Donetta Hill 0B4096,
SCI Muncy-Unit K-B,
PO Box 180, Muncy, PA 17756