LIMA — Jurors deciding the fate of a man in a death penalty trial watched a videotaped confession Thursday. He admitted to killing three people, including two that he used fire to kill and cover up the crime.
Hager Church’s confession was played before the jury during the second day of the state’s case against him.
“I hit her with a red pipe wrench about 18 inches long,” Church said of striking Massie “Tina” Flint before he started a fire that killed Flint, 45, and her boyfriend, Rex Hall, 54, on June 14, 2009, in a house at 262 S. Pine St.
Church told Lima Police Detc. Steve Stechschulte a detailed story of the night he killed the two, including why he did it. He said he was smoking crack at Flint’s home when he decided to kill her. He told her he dropped crack cocaine on the floor, she bent over to look for it and he hit her in the head.
Stechschulte told Church he nearly got away with the double murder.
“I probably wouldn’t have if I wouldn’t have told,”Church said. “I just wanted to get this off my chest and move forward.”
Church, 30, told the detective he should die for his crimes.
“What they can do to me now is to give me the death penalty because I’m just sitting in prison wasting money,” Church said.
Church also talked on tape about going to the home of Deb Henderson, where he was staying, after he set the fire that killed Flint and Rex. A year after the 2009 fire, he killed Henderson. He also talked about that on the tape.
Church said he beat Henderson in the head with a hammer.
“The thought came into my head, and a minute later, I killed Deb,” Church said.
Church also talked about a plan to burn Henderson’s home — but Henderson’s daughter and another girl were upstairs sleeping and he knew they likely would die.
“I wish I never killed anybody in my life,” Church said. “I think Deb died a hero. If it wasn’t for Deb I would still be out there doing it. I look at it like she saved people.”
Church later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for killing Henderson. While in prison he told at least two cellmates about the 2009 murders and later told investigators.
Stechschulte asked Church if he killed anyone else.
“No,” Church said.
During cross examination, Church’s lead attorney, Greg Meyers, asked Stechschulte whether Church was remorseful for his crimes. Stechschulte said yes.
The prosecution ended its case, and the defense did not call a witness in the first phase of the trial to determine guilt or innocence. Jurors were told to come back for closing arguments Tuesday morning following the holiday.
Earlier in the day, the prosecution continued to call police investigators to testify about the 2010 Henderson murder. A coroner also testified about the cause of Henderson’s death, and the jury was showed a photo of Henderson’s severely injured head taken during the autopsy.