Ex-con gets 247 years for killing man who ‘disrespected’ girlfriend

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SAN DIEGO — A career criminal who went on a rampage two years ago, fatally shooting a friend he thought disrespected his girlfriend and then wounding a man in La Jolla over a drug debt, was sentenced Friday to 247 years to life in prison.

Joseph Anthony Hill, 46, was convicted last April of first-degree murder in the death of Sean O’Toole and attempted murder for wounding Travis Bondurant on Dec. 29, 2013. Hill, who has six prior felony convictions for robbery, drug and assault crimes, was given the maximum sentence possible by Superior Court Judge Frederic Link.

“Mr. Hill, you’re a criminal. You will never see the light of day again,” the judge said as he sentenced the defendant.

Sean O’Toole’s brother, Kevin, told the judge that Hill was a “cold- blooded murderer” and “someone who should have never been on the streets.”

Deputy District Attorney Joe McLaughlin said that besides the pain that Hill caused O’Toole’s friends and family, the case was disturbing because the defendant had shown little remorse for the murder.

“No remorse … not little. No remorse,” Hill said during an outburst in court.

O’Toole’s mother, Judy Niemi, called the murder “senseless” and said her son was a good man.

“He (Sean) was not perfect. He never claimed to be perfect,” Niemi told the judge.

McLaughlin said Hill hasn’t been out of custody for more than 14 months since he was 18 years old.

Link called Hill a “true gangster” and a “criminal.”

McLaughlin told the jury that Hill went to O’Toole’s Linda Vista home about 5 p.m. armed with a firearm in his waistband and confronted the victim in the backyard over a statement he’d previously made about the defendant’s girlfriend, who accompanied him to the residence.

McLaughlin said Hill pulled a 9mm weapon, prompting the 47-year-old victim to say “What are you going to do, shoot me?”

Hill fired into the ground, then shot O’Toole in the chest, the prosecutor said, then fled with his girlfriend, Marla Caniglia, who later pleaded guilty to being an accessory.

Defense attorney Stewart Dadmun argued that the alleged insult to Caniglia had already been cleared up when Hill went to talk to O’Toole.

About three hours later, Hill kicked in the door of a motel room in La Jolla and shot Bondurant once in the stomach over a $200 drug debt, McLaughlin told the jury.

The next morning, law enforcement officers tracked Hill to a home on Catalina Boulevard in Point Loma. When Hill tried to drive away, officers opened fire, wounding him.

Dadmun told the jury that Hill shot O’Toole in self-defense. The defense attorney said Hill owed O’Toole money and went to talk to him the night of the shooting. Once at the victim’s home, O’Toole became angry and Hill shot him once to stop him, then fled the scene, Dadmun told the jury.


  • Spencer

    Joe Hill you are so pathetic I ALMOST feel sorry for you. Even if the grace of god allowed you back in civilization, you’d be back in custody in no time. I can not imagine what it’s like for you to wake up every morning & look in the mirror and see this 46 year old disgrace – so I guess if I were as stupid, ugly & worthless as you are I’d be angry too. If YOU were the one shot & killed, who would even GIVE A $H*T??? A couple of skanks maybe?? lol!! You took someone from this earth who maybe was not a “pillar of society” but was 10 times more of a MAN than you’ll ever be, someone who mattered to people & who made the world a better place. & all over Sean disrespecting your “girlfriend”?? I can say several things with certainty, if Sean “disrespected” her then there is no doubt in my mind she DESERVED it (!!) & how much did this GIRLFRIEND mean to you, that you’re a) married (lol) b) how long were you & Marla using each other, a few weeks?? c) one of your “girlfriend’s” mother nailed it when she said all these dumb $luts that hook up with you are delusional as you clearly like MEN & ENJOY being in prison??<–& that's fine but you had NO right taking Sean's life just to get back to where you WANT to be. Well Joe, just remember that Sean O'Toole's legacy is that he will be forever loved & missed, and YOURS is that you were a coward :):)

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