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A Kansas woman who decapitated his ex’s mother will spend the rest of her life behind bars after the state supreme court upheld her conviction and sentence.
Rachael Hilyard was convicted in February 2020 in the murder of her ex-boyfriend’s 63-year-old mother, Micki Davis, whose head she severed and placed in in a sink. She was sentenced to 50 years in prison. On Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed Hilyard’s conviction and 50-year prison sentence.
“Hilyard appeals on several theories, including insufficient evidence to support premeditation, erroneous jury instruction, ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial error, and the district court’s abuse of discretion,” the court's opinion stated, which Oxygen.com obtained. “[W]e affirm Hilyard’s conviction and sentence.”
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett, whose office prosecuted Hilyard, applauded the Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday.
“We are pleased with the decision of the Kansas Supreme Court denying all issues raised by the defense and sustaining the conviction,” Bennett told Oxygen.com. “The successful prosecution of this matter was the result of the hard work of the responding officers, the investigators and forensic scientists. We thank the witnesses, the court and once again, the jury for their work assessing this difficult matter. I know Ms. Davis’s family is pleased with this result.”
On April 9, 2017, police officers responded to Hilyard’s residence after Davis’ 9-year-old grandson called 911 to report that she was physically attacking his grandmother. According to Sedgwick County prosecutors, the 9-year-old, whose father had recently split up with Hilyard, went to the Wichita woman’s home after she threatened to throw his dad’s belongings on the curb.
Upon arrival, police found blood pooling by Davis’ headless corpse in the home’s garage. Two steak knives were discovered nearby, per case court documents. Davis' head was ultimately recovered from the kitchen sink.
Hilyard, who was located in a bathroom, rambled about “deja vu” and claimed she heard voices as she was taken into police custody. She later told investigators she decapitated Davis because she needed to get her “head away from her body so her soul could get free and go to heaven.”
Prosecutors contended Hilyard carried out the attack "without any provocation."
Davis family since welcomed the news of Hilyard's conviction and sentence being affirmed by the Kansas Supreme Court.
“Our family has received amazing news today!” Davis’ family said in a statement obtained by Hutchinson, Kansas television station KWCH. “Micki’s homicide has finally come to an end, the convicted murderer has lost her appeal in the Kansas Supreme court! We can finally put this chapter to an end and remember Micki for the person she was and not how her life ended!”
During trial, Hilyard claimed occult forces drove her to carry out Davis’ killing after she participated in a botched exorcism. As trial proceedings played out, Hilyard also wrote several letters to the presiding judge referencing haunted houses, aliens, methamphetamines, and magic spells.
Hilyard underwent multiple psychological evaluations before she was cleared to stand trial.
“You have somebody without doubt is insane and yet has to go to trial because we have antiquated and archaic laws,” Quentin Pittman, Hilyard’s former defense lawyer, told Oxygen.com in 2020. “This case should have never gone to trial.”
Hilyard previously apologized to Davis’ family at her sentencing.
“I will continue to pray for your forgiveness,” Hilyard said in a court statement. “If I don’t get it, I deserve that, and I deserve all the time I’m going to get.”
Oxygen.com has reached out to the Sedgwick County District Attorney for comment following the Supreme Court ruling.
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