"I think he deserves [death] and a heck of a lot more," Julia Karrenbauer, Emerson's former roommate, told the AJC recently. Emerson, 24 at the time, disappeared on New Year's Day 2008 while hiking along Blood Mountain in Union County. Hilton was apprehended six days later and within weeks was sentenced to life in prison.
A plea deal was offered in exchange for Hilton leading officials to Emerson's body, which he had hidden in Dawson Forest north of Cumming. Georgia authorities knew there was significant evidence in Florida linking Hilton to Dunlap's slaying, information shared with Emerson's parents when presented with the plea agreement. Dunlap's body, also dumped in a remote forest, was found a few weeks before Emerson disappeared.