Originally created 09/17/96

Neighbors had little contact with suspect



NORTH AUGUSTA - Although Jacqueline Cromwell believes God is watching over her, she said she prayed hard for her family's protection Monday after hearing that a man suspected in a triple murder lived in her neighborhood.

Ms. Cromwell, a resident of 2092 Caretta Ave. in North Augusta, shuddered while sitting at her kitchen table when she discovered that David Mark Hill, 36, suspected in the shooting deaths of three Department of Social Services employees, lived at house 2108 on the same street.

"I'm shocked really," said the mother of three who said she never saw anybody enter or leave Mr. Hill's home. "You think your neighborhood is safe. I pray for covering over my family."

Ms. Cromwell was one of several residents of this small, quiet neighborhood shocked to hear that the suspect lived so close by. Most of them said they rarely, if ever, saw Mr. Hill, his wife or his three children.

Only one person knew his name.

"I know him from talking to him at times, but not well," said Carl Glover, Mr. Hill's next-door neighbor who has lived in the community 36 years. "He never seemed in good spirits to me. He seemed depressed most of the time."

Mr. Glover added that Mr. Hill, who has lived beside him about a year, seemed "worried a lot about his children."

"His daughter was paralyzed about a year ago," he said pointing at his neighbor's brick house with colorful children's toys scattered about the driveway and a wooden wheelchair ramp extending from the front door. "He hasn't worked since he's been there."

Mr. Glover said the last time he saw his neighbor was Saturday when he came over to borrow a phone book.

That's more than Lewis Bauknight can say.

A resident of the community for 14 years, Mr. Bauknight said he'd never heard of or seen the suspect, whose home is only a few houses down from his.

"The street's basically secluded. We keep our business to ourselves," he said. "I'm not surprised or scared. People are people. Anything can happen anywhere."

Mr. Bauknight's wife Alfreda had a different point of view.

"It's scary to know that he lived only a few houses down," she said. "You never know what's going to happen. Why? That's the big question in my head."