On a fateful night in September 1990, Connie Hilton was shaken awake by terror when she found herself in the middle of a home invasion. Armed men broke into her home and shot her fiancé, George Newman, dead in front of her very eyes when he came to her rescue. Connie was then agonizingly and brutally raped before being left alive by some miracle. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Dead Silent: Quiet the Dogs’ takes the audience through that terrifying night and follows the investigation, which was finally able to bring the murderer to justice. Let’s find out more about the crime and where Connie Hilton is at present, shall we?
How Did George Newman Die?
George Newman lived with his fiancée, Connie Hilton, and their three dogs in a rural home in Tyler, Smith County, Texas, which is 90 miles away from the city of Dallas. The couple was well respected in the community. At the time of his murder, George was just 45 years old. It was indeed a dark day when the armed men decided to devastate and destroy the couple’s peaceful lives.
On the night of September 17, 1990, Connie claimed that she was jolted awake from sleep by the sounds of her dog barking. The manner of barking immediately gave Connie a sense of impending danger. She crept out of her room and was taken aback with horror when she spotted an armed man in the hallway. He was carrying a shotgun. On seeing the intruder, Connie screamed, which in turn alerted her fiancé, George.
George came running to Connie’s aid, and an armed intruder brutally shot him in the face and killed him on the spot. They also shot and killed one of the couple’s dogs. Connie then tried to hide in the bathroom but was struck twice on the head and passed out. When she came to her senses, she found herself in the living room and was agonizingly raped by an intruder while two others ransacked and robbed the house.
After the brutal assault, the intruder tied her hands and feet before threatening her with a gun. The intruders then bolted from the scene in the couple’s truck as Connie struggled to set herself free. Once she was successful in doing so, she checked on George, who was already dead. A terrified Connie then escaped through the bathroom window and managed to inform the police about the horrifying incident.
Who Killed George Newman?
Rickey Lynn Lewis was arrested, tried, and convicted of George Newman’s murder. Rickey was a serial offender who had a tough childhood because of his abusive father. When he was just ten years old, he committed his first offense by shooting his father. His mother later said that Rickey did so to protect her from her abusive husband. Since then, he had been in and out of jail repeatedly, with reports suggesting that in the seven years preceding George’s murder, Rickey had gone to prison at least five times.
The first time Lewis went to prison was in 1983 on burglary charges. He was also a repeated parole violator. The police found out that before killing George, Rickey had committed multiple offenses in the same year by leading the police on a high-speed chase and robbing a store in Tyler while being armed with a shotgun. He was also reported to have been out on parole at the time of George Newman’s murder.
Three days after the murder, the police discovered that Rickey was in possession of some of the stolen goods from the couple’s Smith County home. Rickey was immediately arrested, and the police tested his blood and semen against the samples collected from the crime scene. The police were confident that they had their man when the samples came back as a match. They also determined that Rickey was the one who raped Connie Hilton when his semen linked him to the rape. Though Rickey claimed that he was innocent of murder, the police charged him with George Newman’s murder and Connie’s rape.
Is Rickey Lynn Lewis Dead or Alive?
The state of Texas has executed Rickey Lynn Lewis for his role in George Newman’s murder. Once Rickey was put on trial following his arrest, he claimed that he was not guilty of murder. He claimed that there were two other men with him that night, and one of them was responsible for killing George. Yet, Rickey refused to give up the names of his accomplices. In 1994, Rickey Lewis was found guilty of murder, and due to his status as a serial offender, he was handed the death sentence. The two other intruders were never identified.
From his conviction in 1994 to 2013, Rickey had appealed numerous times to have his sentence overturned. In his appeals, Rickey claimed that he was not of a sound mind when he committed the crime. He said that he was mentally disabled and should be tried on the basis of that. The Supreme Court turned down every single one of his appeals.
After his last appeal was rejected in 2013, Rickey submitted a clemency petition which was also turned down. On April 9, 2013, Rickey Lynn Lewis was executed by lethal injection. His last words spoken to Connie were, “If I hadn’t raped you then you wouldn’t have lived.” He also maintained his innocence to his last day and claimed that he was not responsible for George’s murder and the subsequent burglary.
Where is Connie Hilton Now?
Connie Hilton chose to witness Rickey’s execution and was present when he was killed by lethal injection. Connie also managed to find strength and recovered from her terrifying past with help from her family and friends. During her recovery, Connie wanted to help similar victims like her. Thus, she and her sister started Voices for Victims, an organization that helped victims of violent crimes recover from the tragic incidents that foreshadow their lives.
Connie is now married but still lives in Tyler with her husband, Barry. In 1999, Connie was introduced to Bridges to Life, which helps crime victims and rehabilitates offenders by assisting them to come to terms with their disturbing pasts. She joined it as a volunteer and presently holds the prestigious position of Senior Regional Coordinator of the Northeast Texas region.