Metro-East News

Dad of former Atlanta Falcons running back acquitted of drug charges

Brian K. Hill Sr.
Brian K. Hill Sr.

The father of former Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill was acquitted Tuesday of cocaine-trafficking charges in St. Clair County.

The jury returned a not-guilty verdict for Brian K. Hill Sr., 43.

“The jury heard Brian, and they have our deepest gratitude for their hard work at rendering a verdict,” said Hill’s lawyer, Cathy MacElroy. “The acquittal exemplifies that our justice system works after all.”

Prosecutors alleged that Hill sold cocaine to Robert Johnson, who was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. Johnson’s conviction stemmed from the same alleged drug transaction.

Three witnesses testified during the trial — an undercover agent and two police officers.

Under questioning from MacElroy and her co-counsel, Grant Menges, doubt arose regarding whether Hill was a participant in the transaction. Prosecutors argued that Hill provided crack cocaine to Johnson and that Johnson then sold it to an undercover agent. Hill testified that he wasn’t involved in any drug transaction. The defense admitted that Hill was present at the liquor store at the time but argued that Hill was there only as an employee of the store.

The jury deliberated for two hours Tuesday before returning the not-guilty verdict.

Hill had been in St. Clair County Jail awaiting trial since Oct. 27, 2016.

Brian Hill Jr., a former Belleville West football player, played at the University of Wyoming before he was picked last year by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round of the NFL draft.

At the time of the draft, Thomas Dimitroff, general manager of the Falcons, had said Hill was a big, strong running back who had a “hard-charging style” that would be a welcome addition to the Falcons. He was cut from the team in October.

Brian Hill Sr. remained in St. Clair County Jail on Wednesday on a parole hold from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

If he had been convicted of the drug charges, he could have faced up to 30 years in prison.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer