A Powell man caught with thousands of dollars worth of stolen property in 2017 — including dozens of porcelain dolls — has been placed on supervised probation.
Chad M. Hill, 44, served nearly 11 months in jail while his case was pending. He now must serve three years of probation and pay $275 for receiving, concealing or disposing of stolen property, with three to five years of prison time suspended.
Hill received the sentence in March as part of a deal with prosecutors, in which he agreed to plead guilty to the felony count.
The Park County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation had seized nearly 60 items and boxes of items from Hill’s trailer in February 2017, believing they’d been stolen from units at Metzler Storage weeks earlier. Roughly $13,200 worth of items had gone missing from more than a dozen units at the storage facility — including two handguns and equipment used to measure distances underwater — but not all of the items were recovered.
Among the stolen materials found at Hill’s trailer were tools, a tent, a sewing machine, a generator and numerous porcelain dolls. Many of the collectible dolls were found stashed in the residence’s crawl space, where Hill himself also hid from law enforcement.
A confidential source told DCI agents that Hill had told them that he’d broken into the storage units. However, Hill denied that. He admitted to investigators that he had suspected the materials were stolen, but contended he’d bought them from someone else.
When pressed about the supposed seller’s identity, Hill responded “by either saying that he didn’t want to give up the name of the person he got them from, because he was not a snitch, or he gave us a nickname like ‘Slow Step.’ He would say it was just ‘some Mexican dude,’ and he couldn’t really remember or know much more than that,” Park County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy MaGill wrote in an affidavit. “Several more times, he was asked if he had any names of other people involved in the purchasing or theft of stolen items, and he would repeatedly make up an impractical or unbelievable story ...”
Hill was arrested on Feb. 17, 2017, for having the stolen property, but the case would later stall out in court.
This February — two years after his arrest — Hill wrote a letter to District Court Judge Bill Simpson, complaining that his court-appointed attorney had been unresponsive and his case neglected.
“I believe I’m innocent of the charges,” Hill added.
A day after Hill mailed his letter, Deputy Park County Attorney Leda Pojman also expressed frustration with the case’s slow progression. In a motion asking Simpson to set a firm trial date, Pojman wrote in bold, underlined text that the case “has been stagnant for two (2) years.”
“The state has done everything in its power to resolve this case,” Pojman wrote, noting prosecutors had repeatedly offered a plea deal. “Such unnecessary delay of two years is prejudicial to the state and to the victim.”
Hill was sentenced to probation the next month.
While the case took a long time to move forward, it remained relatively active, with Hill going in and out of jail multiple times.
He was re-arrested in March 2018 after he reportedly missed a court date, then again that April when Powell police caught him with a little more than a gram of methamphetamine at the Best Choice Motel. Then he was arrested again in August after he missed appointments with a probation agent — and when prosecutors charged him with a new, felony drug offense.
In that case, the Park County Attorney’s Office alleged that Hill had helped his soon-to-be ex-wife, Stefanie Hill, sell a small amount of meth to a DCI informant in February 2018.
Charging documents, supported by text messages, say Stefanie Hill agreed to sell an “eight-ball” (3.5 grams) of meth for $300. However, she appears to have shorted the informant, only providing 1.3 grams of the drug in a transaction at the Powell Coin-Op Laundromat.
Stefanie Hill, 35, pleaded guilty to a felony count of delivering a controlled substance earlier this year. She received credit for the nine days she’d served in jail and was sentenced to three years of supervised probation, with three to five years of prison time suspended. Stefanie Hill was also ordered to pay $325 to the court and to repay DCI for the $300 she received from the informant.
Meanwhile, the county attorney’s office dropped the aiding and abetting charge against Chad Hill in February. Charging documents alleged his only involvement was being present while his wife sold the meth.
While on probation, Chad Hill is required to obey the law and his probation agent, is subject to searches and seizures, is generally prohibited from associating with other felons and must maintain a full-time job, among other requirements.
He is not subject to any drug or alcohol conditions, with those marked on the court order as “non-applicable.”
Hill was released to probation following his March 19 sentencing in Cody.