Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (Feb. 13) secured an indictment charging a New Orleans felon identified through DNA results with the rape of a Texas man beneath a Treme freeway overpass in May 2017.
Eric Hill was charged with second-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping in the two-count indictment handed up by an Orleans Parish grand jury. Hill, 51, faces 5 to 40 years in state prison if convicted of the rape charge. The same penalty range would apply if he is found guilty on the kidnapping count.
A 33-year-old man told New Orleans police he had been drinking on Bourbon Street in the early morning hours of May 28, 2017, when he and his husband argued and became separated. The man said his cellphone battery had died and he later was unsure how to find the bed and breakfast where the couple was staying. He approached a stranger later identified as Hill to ask for help, and agreed to pay the man $40 for assistance.
The man told investigators that as they walked out of the French Quarter along the 1200 block of North Claiborne Avenue, the stranger pushed him inside a portable toilet underneath the I-10 overpass. He said the stranger punched him several times and forced him to perform oral sex before fleeing.
The victim flagged down police near the intersection of Esplanade Avenue and North Dorgenois Street around 3:50 a.m. to report the sexual assault. A sexual assault kit was executed at University Medical Center. DNA samples collected from the victim later were found to match samples taken from Hill following a 2002 narcotics distribution conviction, stored in the federal CODIS database (Combined DNA Index System).
The DNA match was confirmed in August 2019, after a new buccal swab was obtained from Hill two months earlier. Hill was still on probation at the time of the alleged rape, and has two open drug cases still pending.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Glass, chief of Cannizzaro’s SAKI unit (Sexual Assault Kit Initiative) presented the case to the grand jury.
Since its inception in October 2018, the OPDA’s SAKI unit has opened cases against 24 defendants linked by DNA to the cold-case sexual assaults of 49 male and female victims in New Orleans.
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