Michael Brandon Hill has been sentenced to serve 20 years in prison followed by an additional 20 years of probation for charges stemming from an incident last year in which he walked into an elementary school in Decatur, Georgia, and opened fire before being talked into surrendering by bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff.
Hill was armed with an AK-47 and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition and although shots were fired, nobody was injured during the intense standoff. Tuff calmly talked with Hill for almost an hour before convincing him to eventually give himself up.
And although Hill was heavily armed when he walked into the McNair Discovery Learning Academy, the defense painted a picture not of a deranged madman out to harm others, but of a severely mentally ill individual who was seeking “suicide by cop” after numerous failed attempts at taking his own life, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“He knew because there were children the police would come there and they would fire at him and he would die,” Hill’s attorney, Annie Deets, told Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott. “He is a 21-year-old man who had the deck stacked against him from birth. He reached out for help but our system, as it exists, is not equipped to give people like Mr. Hill help.”
Hill spent a large portion of his childhood in state custody. His father was abusive and his mother, who abused drugs and alcohol and had mental health problems, was found frozen to death outside in what appeared to be an apparent suicide. Hill suffered from mental illness from the age of seven and often struggled to receive the medication he needed. Hill was admitted into the mental hospital more than 20 times and by the age of 20 had attempted suicide a total of nine times.
Deets said Hill pleaded guilty to the charges because he wanted to take responsibility for his actions. The defense originally asked that Hill only serve a 10-year sentence while undergoing psychiatric treatment, but the judge refused, issuing twice the time instead. Nonetheless, Deets hopes that Hill can get the psychiatric treatment he needs while serving his sentence.
“Good luck to you, Mr. Hill,” Scott said following the sentencing.