The generally peaceful city of Akron, Ohio, witnessed a terrifying incident when 18-year-old Hannah Hill went missing from her home on May 19, 1999. Although Hannah’s body was found in the trunk of her own car, the investigation proved challenging until phone records led law enforcement officers to Denny Ross. ‘Dateline: The Night Hannah Hill Disappeared’ chronicles the shocking murder and portrays how Denny Ross was involved in the crime. Let’s delve into the details and find out where Denny is at present, shall we?
Who Is Denny Ross?
Denny Ross was a resident of Akron, Ohio, who lived a few blocks away from Hannah Hill. Although not much is known about Denny’s early years, people who knew him claimed they didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. However, the show mentioned that Denny was a known drug dealer, and he had previously been in trouble with the law for selling drugs and other illegal substances to police informants. On top of it, it is also unclear as to how Denny came in contact with Hannah, but the 18-year-old had no idea that the friendship would ultimately lead to her death.
Hannah stepped out of her home at around 10:30 pm on May 19, 1999, after telling her mother that she would be back soon. However, the 18-year-old did not return that night, and the following morning, her boss called to say that Hannah was absent from her job. This made Hannah’s parents quite anxious as it was unlike her to remain absent without prior notice. Hence, they immediately notified law enforcement officers and began searching around the neighborhood with local volunteers. Around the time Hannah went missing, the police received information about an illegally parked car but did not pay much heed to it.
When they returned to the car about one week after Hannah’s disappearance, they were shocked to find her partially naked body in the trunk. While the scene was gruesome enough to shock even the most hardened of officers, an autopsy soon determined that the victim was beaten and strangled to death. The initial investigation focused on Hannah’s boyfriend, Brad O’Born, as the show mentioned that he was prone to violent behavior. Yet, Brad claimed the 18-year-old stormed out after an argument on the night of her disappearance, and he never saw her again. In the meantime, the police went through Hannah’s phone records and found that she had been in constant contact with Denny Ross.
Since Denny was already infamous for selling drugs, the police immediately questioned him, and he admitted to meeting Hannah on the night of May 19. However, Denny mentioned that since Hannah was angry with her boyfriend, he shared a kiss with her before she left his apartment at around 1:30 am. Unwilling to take Denny at his word, the police got a search warrant for his apartment before recovering a trash bag that contained the victim’s underwear. Thus, with evidence linking Denny to the crime, he was arrested and charged with murder.
Where Is Denny Ross Now?
Denny’s first trial ended in a mistrial as one of the jurors had an emergency that affected the judgment. However, while waiting for the second trial, Denny returned to his criminal habits and ended up assaulting and raping a 32-year-old woman named Jennifer Tittle. Incidentally, Jennifer played dead during the ordeal, and after she managed to escape her captor, she identified him to the police. Hence, in 2004, Denny was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after being convicted of attempted murder, rape, kidnapping, and felony assault.
Eventually, Denny was put on trial for Hannah’s murder in 2012, and this time, the prosecution had DNA evidence connecting him to the crime. Furthermore, Jennifer Tittle also testified against Denny, and he was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison along with an additional 4-year sentence after being convicted of murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence. Thus, at present, Denny Ross remains behind bars at the NorthEast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown, Ohio, and will be eligible for parole in 2048.