Local News

Notorious killers remain threat to society, authorities say

SEBRING - After Samuel Orlando Martinez killed his grandparents in Sebring in 2002, he blamed his actions on his cats. He also said at a hearing that he didn't personally have anything against his grandparents.

Eighteen year earlier, Benny Hill stabbed his mother to death and later claimed that "the devil planted in my mind the thought (that) if I killed her, I would go to heaven," according to an arrest affidavit. Hill later claimed to be Jesus Christ.

Although both men were declared innocent by reason of insanity, they remain years later committed to the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee, Assistant State Attorney Steve Houchin said.

Long after their cases faded from the headlines and the memories of most people, their names surfaced on the docket for Highlands County Circuit Court this past week.

Houchin said their names appear on the docket, but it's very rare that either one would be in the courtroom.

He said the hearings are routine with the presentation in each of a report from the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services that says they remain a danger to society.

Houchin said he's certain that neither man will be released from the hospital, but added that the hearings will continue, typically twice a year.

Hill, now 74, was arrested at his Avon Park residence after stabbing his mother repeatedly, the affidavit said. After killing his mother, he talked about going to the electric chair, according to an arrest report.

Since that time, Houchin said, Hill has claimed to be Jesus Christ.

A 1986 report from the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services concluded that Hill's "condition has remained essentially unchanged."

The report said at that time Hill wanted to move in with his sister and he would not pose a threat.

"He said he was sure he would not hurt her because although she bothered him, he loved her," the report said. "However, he also explained that he loved his mother, even though he killed her because she bothered him."

In a letter he wrote in 1996 - 12 years after the murder - he said that "I just want to inform you that this next time I returned back to court I will be under oath and I want to tell the truth. I am really Jesus Christ - God Almighty, The Great One" and I want to read the judge a few verses to prove it," he said.

As for Ramirez, Houchin said, records show that he's had mental problems for years and a record that involved committing arson in other states.

Houchin said Ramirez was once found swimming in the water off Hawaii. Ramirez told authorities then that the space ship Enterprise from Star Trek told him that a land disaster was to occur, Houchin said.

He said Ramirez also at one point was searching for Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman, because voices told him to kill Reeve.

Ramirez bludgeoned his grandparents to death and evidence indicated that he tried to burn their bodies, a report said.

He not only blamed the cats for his actions, but also talked about crows and felt people in Sebring were aliens, reports in his file say.


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