Arrest made in 2008 cold case murder, says Columbus Police Chief

Crime

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect number of surviving family members. The error has been corrected.

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Columbus Police announced the arrest of a suspect in the 2008 murder of a Columbus father.

Shanita Evette Wyatt was arrested and charged with the murder of Paul Hill, according to Police Chief Freddie Blackmon. She has been an inmate at the Muscogee County Jail since May 2020 for unrelated drug charges, according to Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon.

Police said in their announcement of the news conference that it would cover a “clearance of a cold case.”

Paul Hill was found in his Marathon Drive apartment on April 2, 2008, dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Lead detective Stuart Carter said that Wyatt’s name surfaced early in the investigation. Witnesses have stepped forward, Carter said. Wyatt lived in the same neighborhood as Hill, Carter said.

More information is expected to come out Friday morning in a Recorder’s Court hearing.

Hill was described as someone who always kept in touch. After no one had heard from him in a few days, a family member went to check on him, and knocked on Hill’s door. When Hill didn’t respond, police were called to do a welfare check.

Police had to “forcibly enter into the residence,” which was locked, according to Chief Blackmon. Inside, they found Hill dead in the apartment. He was pronounced dead at around 2:40 p.m. on April 2, 2008.

Hill left behind three daughters and a son.

Hill’s family members in attendance at the police news conference declined to speak to media.

In a March 2020 interview with News 3, Hill’s daughter, Nichole Alred reflected on her father’s legacy saying:

“You know, when we were growing up, and people were in need, he’d go and buy groceries for people and deliver them to their house. Anytime somebody was in need, he’d be willing to give the shirt off his back. He was a gentleman.”

Blackmon thanked several detectives who had worked on the case, notably Carter, now serving as a reserve officer after coming out of retirement. Carter had previously worked as an investigator on the case beginning in October 2016. He worked on the case actively until June 2, 2017.

In Jan. 29, 2020, the cold case was resumed by Det. Carter, and additional witnesses were identified. Statements taken from them corroborated testimony of previous witnesses. With the information received, Carter obtained the murder warrant to arrest Wyatt for Hill’s murder.

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