The case against Dani Hilliard, the woman charged with the murder of Paul Ivey earlier this month, was dismissed after a judge said on Tuesday there wasn’t enough probable cause to charge her. A grand jury is now tasked with deciding charges against her.
Hilliard, 26, was charged with second-degree murder while armed for the stabbing death of Ivey. Hilliard was immediately arrested following Ivey’s death.
While in court, Hilliard’s lawyer said Ivey was at Hilliard’s home to care for their children the night of the homicide, but there had been a history of domestic violence between Ivey and Hilliard for years. According to court documents, a civil protection order filed against Ivey said he could not assault, threaten, harass, stalk or abuse Hilliard and should stay 100 feet away from her. He could not to contact Hilliard unless it was regarding their children.
According to court documents, Hilliard told investigators Ivey occasionally spent the night at her home to care for their two small children, and was at her home for the same reason when a “heated” and “verbal” argument about their children broke out.
Surveillance of her questioning was played in court where Hilliard said she tried to get away from the situation by going into the bathroom, which already had a broken door. As Hilliard was smoking and “having a drink” in the bathroom, Ivey “busted down the door” and the entire door fell on top of her, over the bathtub.
Court documents state three kitchen knives were recovered at the crime scene and two seemed to be covered in blood. Police also collected a pocket knife and Ivey’s black shirt at the scene of the crime.
According to court documents, when police arrived, Hilliard told officers Ivey stabbed himself, but later said, “I didn’t mean for this to happen” and changed her story during questioning. She told a witness “we stabbed each other” and told investigators she did not know how Ivey was injured.
Hilliard had “sharp force” injuries in her right arm and thigh, court documents stated, but in court, it was still unclear if she received her injuries before or after Ivey was stabbed. The prosecutor argued Hilliard could have stabbed herself instead. Hilliard’s lawyer, the prosecutor and the detective under questioning all did not know about whether it was Hilliard or Ivey who brought the black, 6-inch knife into the bathroom.
Hilliard’s lawyer said she was defending herself and did not intend to kill Ivey based on the fact that she only stabbed him once.
“It was one small stab wound, and…(Hilliard) is terrified and worried about her children,” Hilliard’s lawyer said.
Based on the information given to Judge Morin, he did not find any probable cause to try Hilliard on second-degree murder while armed and said the grand jury would decide instead.
Hilliard is expected to appear in court again on July 26.