PIKE CO., AR (KSLA) - Bond has been set at $1 million for an Arkansas man accused of shooting and killing his estranged wife, along with her mother and a child over the weekend.
Timothy Allen Hill, 43, made his first appearance in court Monday morning, after being taken into custody in connection with the homicides on Saturday at a home in the 3400 block of Arkansas 301 just southwest of Delight in Pike County.
Arkansas State Police found the bodies at the home after receiving a 911 call around 7p.m. Saturday.
Julie Hartsfield's daughter, and Timothy Hill's estranged wife, 33-year-old Dana Hill's body was found inside the house in the bathroom.
They arrived to find 54-year-old Julie Hartsfield shot to death in the front seat of a car parked in the driveway, and her 9-year-old granddaughter Autumn fatally wounded in the back seat. The little girl later died at a Hot Springs hospital.
Courthouse security was increased this morning at the court proceedings of Timothy Hill, who is being held in connection with the shooting deaths of his wife, Dana, his mother-in-law, Julie Hartsfield, and his 9-year-old niece, Autumn Hartsfield.
Investigators say the couple was separated and were the parents of two small children. They say the shootings occurred when Dana came to the home to pick up the children. Deputies say after the shooting, Hill notified a relative, who notified law enforcement.
"He may have known she was coming just because he went over and made a statement to his father to take care of his boys," says Brian Chesshir, prosecuting attorney.
During Hill's appearance Monday, the district attorney told the judge that several rounds had been fired into the vehicle with an SKS rifle.
Police believe the shooting may have stemmed from a domestic disturbance. Investigators say Hill admitted to the shooting, but they say they don't believe Hill knew the child was in the car.
As Hill was led into the courtroom, his father-in-law uttered a threatening outcry and gesture at Hill and had to be removed from the courtroom.
Pike County District Judge Charles Yeargan put a $1 million bond on Hill and set Monday, July 22, as the tentative date for his arraignment.
The tragedy is hitting the campus of Southern Arkansas University hard. Julie Hartsfield had spent the past 15 years working at SAU's Welcome Alumni Center.
"I am sad for all of us because she was loved by many," says a fellow worker of Julie Hartsfield.
The community has begun to set up a small memorial at the welcome center and inside at Julie's desk.
"They were all a very big part of our family, and we do not know how we are going to deal with the loss. It is a tragic loss," says SAU employee Josh Kee.
The memorial is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. in front of the welcome center.