GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An Ada man convicted of second-degree murder in a deadly road rage beating death could spend the rest of his life in prison.
A judge Monday sentenced 19-year-old Christian Hillman to between 22.5 and 100 years in prison for the murder of 64-year-old William McFarlan.
It took a jury of 10 men and two women a half-hour to deliberate before convicting Hillman last month.
At sentencing, the judge decided against a standard life sentence and opted for something harsher. Hillman’s second-degree murder conviction requires the possibility of parole. If Judge George Quist had sentenced him to life, he would have automatically been eligible for parole in 15 years. The judge’s sentence aims to guarantee his imprisonment for a longer term.
“He’ll never be a truly free man,” Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Blair Lachman told 24 Hour News 8 after the hearing. “They hired the best attorneys that I know. They were terrific. It doesn’t matter how much you pay for an attorney or who you hire, the facts are the facts and they were bad for him.”
McFarlan’s son addressed the court before the judge handed down the sentence.
“I lost my hunting partner, my father, my fishing partner. Everything I do to this day, the hobbies and everything, he taught me,” Jason McFarlan said. “I’m standing here today because of my father. I almost died because I’m a diabetic and had a kidney transplant. My father stepped up right away and saved my life.”
The defense team said McFarlan had been tailgating Hillman’s dirt bike and tried to run him off the road before the confrontation. Hillman also told police McFarlan put his hands around his neck and he was acting in self-defense.
However, during Hillman’s trial, the prosecution team focused its final arguments on the lack of injuries Hillman had in comparison to McFarlan. The assistant prosecutor said Hillman beat McFarlan for more than seven minutes and pulled down his pants and underwear.
The assistant prosecutor also said Hillman was proud of his assault on McLachlan, asking someone to take pictures of his bloody hands afterward.
During the recorded police interview, Hillman could also be heard asking an officer to “get my good side” during evidence photos.