Crawfordville Residents React to Hilton Verdict

By: Jennifer Milton Email
By: Jennifer Milton Email

It took over three years for the trial of accused murderer Gary Michael Hilton to be heard by a jury in Florida, but now, a guilty verdict is in, and Hilton will pay for the crime.

"I'm glad that her family can probably get some closure, and it's good to have him put away so that nobody else has to go through that., I feel very sorry for her family," said Shannon Gill.

Shannon Gill has lived in Crawfordville all her life and remembers the eerie feeling of knowing a killer was on the loose, and the victim was a Sunday School teacher in her very own community.

"The more the little bits and pieces of what actually happened and how they found her came out, it was a little bit more scary. And it was kind of frightening before we'd actually found out who they had caught," said Gill.

But DNA and a trail of other evidence linked Hilton to the kidnapping and brutal murder of 46- year old Cheryl Dunlap, whose gruesome remains were discovered in the Apalachicola National Forrest.

"It was a pretty hideous crime, you know, he didn't show any mercy to her, so I don't think he deserves any mercy, and I think he should be executed the same way he killed her," said Randy Howell.

Even some of the youngest Wakulla County residents are pleased with the jury's 1st degree murder, kidnapping and grant theft convictions and anxiously await word of whether Hilton will end up on death row.

"I'm glad that Hilton is in prison for killing the Sunday School teacher, I feel bad for her and I feel bad for her family and I'm glad he's guilty," said Wesley Gill.

Several people remember the day they heard Dunlap was missing and say today was bittersweet because they are pleased with the outcome, but it won't bring Cheryl Dunlap back.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Bolillo Location: Wakulla on Feb 16, 2011 at 02:04 PM
    It is always possible to make something good outta something bad. Ladies: Your predators are usually opportunist. Trust no one. Consider arming yourself. Keep at least a 9mm size in the car and always a .38 darringer in the pocket easiest & fastest to get to. This is not the same world your mother lived in. Yes, there are demons amongst us.
  • by iTyler on Feb 16, 2011 at 12:29 PM
    This man was never going to walk the streets agian he was already sentenced to life without the possibility of parrole in GA there was no need to try him in florida, he will die in prison, he will NOT die from the state putting him to death.
  • by anonymous on Feb 16, 2011 at 08:09 AM
    this is to the person that the semi truck almost hit in the curve you need to go to the police and have this reported.....i live on hwy 20 at the school and semi trucks, other large trucks and cars are still to this minute flying by my house. this needs to be stopped.
  • by Sopchoppygirl Location: Sopchoppy on Feb 16, 2011 at 07:38 AM
    I was a friend of Cheryl's. I prayed with her many times. In my human condition I want to hurt him as he hurt her but knowing Cheryl she would have forgiven him and prayed for his salvation. The Word of God says if you don't forgive those who hurt you then God can't forgive you. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be justice for what he did. My heart goes out to her family and friends who miss her so much but Cheryl's legacy is one of love and forgiveness. It's the way she would want it.
  • by Lip Cheese on Feb 16, 2011 at 07:04 AM
    Demons walk among us disguised as humans. Some are killers and some are politians who allow the victims families to suffer no justice. Allowing these killers to live out their lives on death row grinds away at the victims families daily. Read what Jesus had to say about Lawyers, I would tell you but you would probably not believe me. I hope God blesses Cheryl's family with millions of dollars so they do not have to work. I hope they are blessed with perfect health for the rest of their lives. I hope all their dreams come true and they have many children that are never a problem but a joy to have. I hope they drive Cadillacs and Corvettes for ever. But, knowing Cheryl...all they would want is her.
  • by Anti Location: Tally on Feb 16, 2011 at 05:49 AM
    I hope he gets the death sentence and I hope it's carried out with a quickness. This piece of trash has been living on borrowed time way too long.
  • by Janet Location: Tallahassee on Feb 16, 2011 at 05:48 AM
    I think both states should put the needle in him. One for each arm, better yet one state take his hands off and one take his feet off and let him bleed to death.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 16, 2011 at 05:47 AM
    He would never have walked the streets again due to his life sentence in GA, even if he was not found guilty in Florida. So, I don't see why this is such a relief. I am glad he was found guilty in FL but I was happy to hear he was given a life sentence in GA way back when it happened.
  • by DD Location: VALDOSTA on Feb 16, 2011 at 05:40 AM
    Regardless whether his sentence is life or death, he will die in prison. While getting 3 meals a day and healthcare. Paid for by us. He needs to be put out of his misery.
  • by vic Location: tally on Feb 16, 2011 at 05:39 AM
    A waste of 10 million dollars and million of dollars will be spent on this wasteful litigation and incarceration of this low life. He should have been left in the Ga Prison System.
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