Deadly road rage beating suspect: ‘Make sure you get my good side’

Christian Hillman
Christian Hillman appears in court on June 28, 2017.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) —  Jurors Wednesday heard from a 19-year-old man accused of murder in the beating death of a 64-year-old driver.

Christian Hillman is charged with second-degree murder after police say he severely beat William McFarlan on Sept. 29 on Whitneyville Avenue in Caledonia Township.

Undated courtesy photo of William McFarlan (Courtesy GoFundMe.com/HelpMcFarlanFamily)

Wednesday, prosecutors played detectives’ recorded interview with Hillman in court.

“He put his hands around my neck and then there was a thorough a** beating after that,” Hillman said.

Christian Hillman
Christian Hillman answers detectives questions in a recorded interview.

In the interview, Hillman said McFarlan put his hands around his neck like he was trying to strangle him.

“I feel like I was in self-defense… he really did attack me first,” Hillman said.

“I kind of lost control for a second to be honest with you, officer,” he added.

The camera was still rolling when an officer came into the interrogation room to photograph Hillman after the deadly beating.

“Make sure you get my good side,” Hillman told the officer.

Christian Hillman
Christian Hillman tells an officer to “get my good side” during a recorded interview with detectives.

When detectives were out of the room, Hillman called his mother.

“I’m going to get a really good lawyer and she’s going to shut (police) the f**k up,” he said.

A detective testifying Wednesday also detailed texts and Facebook messages sent from the suspect’s account after the incident.

“Check my page n***a I made the news,” read one of the messages.

“He tried to run me off my dirt bike. I went ape s**t,” he said in another message.

“It was just me beating his a**,” a third message read.

During the second day of testimony, chief medical examiner Dr. Stephen Cohle said McFarlan was nearly dead by the time he got to the hospital after the incident.

An emergency room doctor testified that medical workers could feel McFarlan’s rib fractures without taking an x-ray. Some family members left the courtroom in tears as the doctor described McFarlan’s injuries depicted in graphic photos.

Cohle said McFarlan ultimately died from a head injury, after spending about a month in a coma. Cohle called the case a homicide.

Testimony in the case started Tuesday with witnesses who described the scene. One of the witnesses testified that the suspect seemed proud of what he had done to the victim.

Hillman is being represented by a powerful defense team that includes a lawyer who previously worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. However, the defense called no witnesses Wednesday after the prosecution rested.

Christian Hillman
Christian Hillman (far left) sits next to his attorneys in court on June 28, 2017.

Tuesday, the defense team didn’t dispute that Hillman beat McFarlan. However, Hillman’s lawyers raised questions about why it happened, pointing to the possibility that Hillman’s life may have been in danger.

Christian Hillman
Christian Hillman appears in court on June 28, 2017.

Prosecutors seemed to be working to dismantle that defense with photos of Hillman taken by sheriff’s investigators hours after the incident. They showed that Hillman had no obvious injuries.

Closing arguments are scheduled to take place Thursday. Jurors will have the option to find Hillman guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, or they could find him not guilty.