Police: Falls homicide suspect had prior DV incident

Apr. 2—NIAGARA FALLS — The suspect in an apparent domestic violence-related homicide had at least one prior incident involving his alleged murder victim as well as a previous weapon possession conviction.

Those revelations have emerged as part of the ongoing investigation of the suspect in the case, 32-year-old Keith William Hill of Buffalo, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of a still-unidentified Niagara Falls woman whose body was found Sunday night inside a home on the 2400 block of Orleans Avenue. It's the city's first homicide of 2024.

At the time of his arrest, early Monday, Hill was also charged on an outstanding domestic violence arrest warrant. The warrant charges Hill with a single count of second-degree criminal contempt for apparently violating an order of protection issued by a Pennsylvania court.

The order of protection was reportedly issued after a domestic incident between Hill and the murder victim in February. Additional details about the incident and where it took place were not immediately available but are reportedly part of the investigation into Hill.

Hill has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him. He has been ordered held without bail pending a preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon.

Police patrol officers were dispatched to a home on the 2400 block of Orleans Avenue about 11 p.m. Sunday, on a report of a possible domestic incident. Police dispatchers told the responding officers that the 911 caller was a 12-year-old child and that there was "an unresponsive female" victim at the scene.

When officers arrived at the home, they found four children, ranging in age from early teens to toddlers, along with the body of a woman who had suffered multiple stab wounds.

The children are now being cared for by family members.

Detectives immediately identified Hill as a suspect in the slaying and broadcast a county-wide attempt to locate him. A short time later, Lockport police spotted Hill's 2021 Nissan Sentra, parked and unoccupied, on Spalding Street.

Investigators said they kept a watch on the vehicle and, at about 3:45 a.m., approached a nearby home. Hill was found inside the residence and taken into custody.

Prosecutors have confirmed that Hill has a previous weapons possession conviction that stems from a Jan. 3, 2021 arrest on the 1700 block of Ashland Avenue. Police said they approached an SUV that was illegally parked by a fire hydrant and found Hill sitting in the driver's seat.

Officer Wayne General said that, as he spoke to Hill, he spotted a "revolver in the passenger side door" and then took Hill and a passenger, who was attempting to get into the vehicle, into custody at gunpoint.

Hill and the passenger, Antonio Dwayne Hawthorne, 40, of Niagara Falls, were each charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony. Prosecutors said Hill later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and served a sentence of one year in the Niagara County jail.

Detectives say their investigation of the homicide is ongoing and anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call 716-286-4553 or the NFPD general information number at 716-286-4711.