TIMELINE: Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill’s time in office

Victor Hill timeline.



Victor Hill timeline.


By Leon Stafford, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jan. 1, 2005: Assumed the office of Clayton County sheriff. Terminated 27 employees and had them escorted from the building with snipers posted on the roof. ORIGINAL STORY

Aug. 5, 2008: Hill lost the Democratic primary to Kem Kimbrough, taking 49 percent, or 12,335 votes, to the 13,107 cast for Kimbrough. Hill stops coming to the office.

Dec. 30, 2008: Hill files for bankruptcy, listing as debts judgments owed as a result of lawsuits brought by employees and others. He leaves office the next day.

Jan. 18, 2012: Hill is indicted on four counts of racketeering, 29 counts of theft by taking, two counts of making a false statement and one count each of violation of oath of a public officer and influencing a witness. Prosecutors say he used his office and his campaign money for himself and not the intended purposes. ORIGINAL STORY

Aug. 21, 2012: Hill defeats Kimbrough in the Democratic primary runoff, taking almost 13,000 votes, 54 percent. ORIGINAL STORY

Oct. 16, 2012: Clayton judge Albert Collier dismisses five of 37 felony charges against Hill, writing that it is unclear who owns the 2008 campaign funds so Hill cannot be charged with improperly spending them. ORIGINAL STORY

Nov. 6, 2012: Hill wins the general election. ORIGINAL STORY

Nov. 26, 2012: Hill’s trial delayed until the Georgia Court of Appeals determines if the trial judge was correct when he dismissed five of the original 37 charges. ORIGINAL STORY

Jan. 3, 2013: Gov. Nathan Deal says state law does not allow him to suspend Hill while his criminal charges are pending because the sheriff was not in office when he was indicted. ORIGINAL STORY

Feb. 12, 2013: Georgia Court of Appeals hears arguments based on the decision to dismiss five of the original 37 felony counts.

May 2013: The Court of Appeals rules in Hill’s favor, dismissing five of the original 37 felony cases against him.

August 8, 2013: Testimony begins in Hill’s trial. Charges against him include racketeering and theft, with allegations that he used his county-issued vehicle and credit card for personal benefit. Prosecutors urged jurors to send a message that elected officials must be held accountable for breaking faith with voters and using their public offices for personal gain. Defense attorney Drew Findling countered that Hill has earned the trust of voters and is being persecuted by political enemies. ORIGINAL STORY

August 15, 2013: After one day of deliberations, jurors clear Hill on all counts. He resumes his duties as Clayton sheriff. ORIGINAL STORY

September 2013: Three current and former employees of the Clayton Sheriff’s Office sue Hill for allegedly retaliating against them because, in 2005, they were successful in lawsuits against him. The county would eventually paid the plaintiffs $750,000 as part of a settlement deal. ORIGINAL STORY

May 2015: Hill calls 911 in Gwinnett County to say he shot a woman in the abdomen. Hill said he had accidentally shot McCord while he was practicing “police tactics,” Gwinnett DA Danny Porter said. But the statements Hill made about the position of McCord’s body and the location of the weapons found at the model home where McCord worked did not match what police found, Porter said Hill was charged with reckless conduct. McCord, 43, told authorities the shooting was an accident. ORIGINAL STORY

August 2016: Hill pleads no contest to the reckless conduct charge. “It’s like it never happened,” said his attorney, Mike Puglise, noting that, under Georgia’s First Offender Act, Hill maintained a clean criminal record. But soon after, Hill’s Peace Officers Standard and Training Council certification was suspended for two years. Hill remained sheriff. ORIGINAL STORY

September 2016: Hill wins the Democratic primary with 63 percent of the vote. In November, he was re-elected to his third term. ORIGINAL STORY

July 2017: An AJC investigation reveals chaplains in Hill’s office were required to attend one funeral every week, during which they hand-delivered a form letter offering condolences signed by Hill In one email, he wrote, “This is a priority to me. Criminals in jail are not.” ORIGINAL STORY

August 2018: An ex-Clayton County deputy who planned to run against Sheriff Victor Hill in 2020 turns himself into police after his former boss issued warrants for his arrest. Robert Hawes was charged with filing false documentation and violation of oath of office. One week earlier, Hawes’ wife, Gerrian, was arrested over several emails she sent Hill. The sheriff said the emails were harassing and that Gerrian Hawes refused to discontinue the communication even after he asked her to stop. ORIGINAL STORY

July 2019: Mitzi Bickers, indicted in connection with a federal bribery probe at Atlanta City Hall, receives a promotion in her job with the Clayton sheriff. She’s now the county’s chief chaplain. She had previously worked as a campaign adviser. ORIGINAL STORY

November 2019: Hill fires two deputies for “cowardly behavior” after they allegedly ran from gunfire that left one man dead. ORIGINAL STORY

July 2020: In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Hill is accused by several civil rights groups of an indifferent reaction to the global pandemic. According to the suit, Hill did not provide masks for inmates, and instead of practicing social distancing, the Clayton jail has, in some cases, put three people in cells meant for two. ORIGINAL STORY

November 2020: Hill is re-elected to a fourth term.

April 2021: Hill indicted on federal charges for allegedly violating the civil rights of jail detainees. ORIGINAL STORY

May 2021: Gov. Brian Kemp appoints a three-person panel to investigate whether Hill should be suspended from his job as he faces federal charges of violating the civil rights of jail detainees. ORIGINAL STORY

June 2021: Kemp suspends Hill from his duties as sheriff during his indictment. ORIGINAL STORY

August 2021: Federal authorities file a superseding indictment, adding a fifth detainee alleged to have had his civil rights violated by Sheriff Hill. Hill pleads not guilty to the charges.

October 2021: Clayton County Jail attorney Alan Parker and Matthew Tucker, an attorney working for a group supporting Hill, ask Gov. Kemp to lift the sheriff’s suspension.

November 2021: Hill asks U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Bly to dismiss indictment.

December 2021: Fulton Superior Court denies Hill’s request to go back to work as Clayton County sheriff.

May 2022: Victor Hill’s name added to police car in Grand Theft Auto V. ORIGINAL STORY

May 2022: Federal authorities set Hill trial date for September 2022.

June 2022: Date for Hill trial moved to Oct. 12. ORIGINAL STORY

August 2022: Prosecutors ask District Court officials to block any testimony Hill may give that says Clayton County has fallen into lawlessness since his suspension. ORIGINAL STORY

September 2022: Federal authorities say they plan to call 35 witnesses during the trial, which they anticipate will take 10 to 13 days to complete. ORIGINAL STORY

October 2022: After four days of deliberations, jury convicts Hill on six of seven charges of violating the civil rights of detainees. ORIGINAL STORY

March 7, 2023: Federal prosecutors recommends Hill spend 46 months behind bars. ORIGINAL STORY

March 14, 2023: Hill scheduled to be sentenced in federal court.

— Digital Presentation Specialist Mandi Albright assisted with this story