Two pro-life attorneys – Michael Hirsh and Vince Heiser – volunteered to orchestrate Paul Hill’s defense. The first thing the attorneys did was file a motion arguing that Paul Hill’s murder of Dr. Britton and his escort was justifiable homicide. To defend the unborn, Dr. Britton had to die. Paul Hill’s actions were necessary to prevent mass murder.
The judge rejected the motion and slapped a gag order on Paul Hill, because – in effect – if Paul was allowed to claim justifiable homicide, it meant Paul was above the law. It would mean Paul decided what was lawful and what was not. In Florida, abortion was legal under certain circumstances. In other words, abortion was not murder. On the other hand, Paul had committed murder twice over. And in the state of Florida, murder was illegal under all circumstances.
Essentially, Paul Hill was an anarcho-syndicalist. He believed he had been chosen to transact for the unborn. Which meant he – Paul Hill – would decide what was to be done. He became lawmaker, judge, jury and executioner – a tyrant. Therefore his proposed defense – justifiable homicide – would not be allowed. For it reflected his tyrannical anarchy.
Paul maintained he was the victim of judicial tyranny. He accused the court of that which he was guilty of. “Since I was denied a truthful defense, I had none. What was I to say? Since I could not tell the truth, I had almost nothing to say. There was no use in offering lame and ineffectual arguments – doing so would only make it appear that I had been given a fair trial.”
The jury found him guilty of two counts of murder under special circumstances. The penalty phase lasted two weeks. “During the penalty phase, I addressed the jury for the first time, and made a short statement as my ‘closing argument.’”
Looking directly at the jurors, Paul said, “You have a responsibility to protect your neighbor’s life, and to use force if necessary to do so. In an effort to suppress this truth, you may mix my blood with the blood of the unborn, and those who have fought to defend the oppressed. However, truth and righteousness will prevail. May God help you to protect the unborn as you would want to be protected.”
Paul’s oration to the jury was rambling, pseudo-religious nonsense. It was as if he was performing on stage in a melodrama. He made a grand speech full of flamboyant phrases. None of which made any sense. It was not even an appeal for mercy or justice. In the end, it was nothing more than the muddled buzz words of a religious madman.
On December 6, 1994, Paul Hill was sentenced to death by lethal injection under Florida law. Within days, he was shipped off to death row at Florida State Prison.
In Florida, all death sentences were automatically appealed to the Florida State Supreme Court. This was a fail-safe measure. The Florida State Supreme Court found no reason to stay the death sentence. During this appeal process, Paul petitioned the court to dismiss his attorneys. He did not wish to file any further appeals. The court granted his petition.
Nine years later, on September 2, 2003, Paul told reporters he “would be rewarded in heaven for his actions. I was following God’s instructions.” He was scheduled to die on the following day at 6 p.m.
The next day, September 3, Paul spoke quietly with his wife and his son. Then he spent a few minutes with his parents and his two sisters. After his family members left, Paul spent time with Donald Spitz. Spitz – who was a Pentecostal minister – functioned as Paul’s spiritual advisor.
Outside the Florida State Prison, anti-abortion activists gathered. They held up protest signs denouncing the execution of Paul Hill. The signs condemned Florida authorities as the “helpers of baby-killers.” Other signs had pictures of unborn fetuses on them. Most of the protestors carried Bibles and rosary beads dangled from the hands of a few. Then they held a prayer vigil, while 100 police officers looked on.
Inside the prison, Paul ate his last meal. He had requested steak, a baked potato, salad, orange sherbert and iced tea. When he finished eating, he and Spitz prayed and read from the Bible. Then prison officials escorted Paul to the death chamber, where he was asked if he had any final words to say.
Paul looked at the two dozen witnesses and said, “The last thing I want to say: If you believe abortion is a lethal force, you should oppose the force and do what you have to do to stop it. May God help you to protect the unborn as you would want to be protected."
Paul was then strapped to the table and shunts were placed in his veins. The order was given and the injections were made. A few minutes later Paul Hill was pronounced dead.