Killer recounts days with victim

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ATLANTA --- Using her wits and training as a martial artist, Meredith Emerson struggled to survive in the north Georgia mountains after she was abducted by a drifter who was looking for easy prey, interviews with her convicted killer have revealed.

Details of the interview with Gary Michael Hilton --- obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation --- tell the tale of Mr. Hilton's four days with Ms. Emerson, and how she fought him from the moment he tried to overpower her as she hiked with her dog, Ella.

In the end, it was Mr. Hilton who outsmarted her before bludgeoning Ms. Emerson to death and decapitating her. But investigators said she never gave up.

"She was doing everything she could to stay alive," GBI Director Vernon Keenan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "It's not something you can train for. Instinct kicks in ... She nearly got the best of him. She's very much a hero."

Mr. Hilton, a wiry man with a slight build, told investigators he targeted the 24-year-old University of Georgia graduate because she was a woman. For a time, they walked together with their dogs on New Year's Day near the Appalachian Trail in Union County, but the 61-year-old Mr. Hilton couldn't keep up.

When Ms. Emerson headed back down the trail, Mr. Hilton was waiting with a military-style knife. He demanded her ATM card and Ms. Emerson immediately went on the defensive, grabbing the blade and the baton Mr. Hilton countered with.

Mr. Hilton calmed her down by telling her that he just wanted her credit card and PIN number, and bound her hands with a zip tie.

Mr. Hilton avoided the established trails as he led Ms. Emerson and her dog back down the mountain and into his van.

Ms. Emerson bought herself three days by giving Mr. Hilton the wrong PIN for her ATM card, telling him each time that the numbers were correct.

"She was doing everything she was supposed to do to stay alive, and we didn't get there in time," said GBI agent Clay Bridges, who interviewed Mr. Hilton.

On the day Mr. Hilton killed Ms. Emerson, he told her "she was going home." After securing her to a tree, he walked back to the van to collect himself and made some coffee.

When he came back, Mr. Hilton said Ms. Emerson told him, "I was afraid you weren't coming back."

Then he walked behind her as if he were coming over to remove the chains holding her to the tree and hit her several times with the handle from a tire jack.

Mr. Hilton was worried that the microchip identifier embedded in Ella, Ms. Emerson's Lab-mix, might lead back to him. Still, he couldn't bring himself to kill the dog.

When Agent Bridges asked whether he had the same equivocations about Ms. Emerson, Mr. Hilton described the experience as "surreal."

"It was hard," Mr. Hilton told the investigator. "You gotta remember we had spent several good days together."

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NEone
6
Points
NEone 03/24/08 - 02:09 am
0
0
This is one sick man. He

This is one sick man. He killed the lady but couldn't bring himself to kill the dog? Any prison is too nice a place for him.

Duderotomy
0
Points
Duderotomy 03/24/08 - 02:54 am
0
0
Execution will ensure that he

Execution will ensure that he niether commits such a crime again nor is able to pass on his defective genes. It is just sad that it will take so long when one has already admitted to the crime.

He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named
0
Points
He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named 03/24/08 - 03:01 am
0
0
There is no way you could

There is no way you could live 61 years on this earth and not realize how wrong this is. It is for God to judge him, it is now our job to speed up his meeting with God. Death penalty, nothing else will do.

He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named
0
Points
He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named 03/24/08 - 03:33 am
0
0
I just re-read the story. It

I just re-read the story. It made me even sicker the second time. Sick old jerk. If anybody bumps into this guy in hell, please don't give him any ice water.

patriciathomas
43
Points
patriciathomas 03/24/08 - 03:39 am
0
0
This psycho should have been

This psycho should have been shot trying to escape. Now, he'll cost the state many hundreds of thousands being tried and retried and incarcerated for the next twenty years.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 03/24/08 - 03:56 am
0
0
Now we are going to house,

Now we are going to house, feed, provide tv, access to a great libary, etc. etc. for the rest of his miserable life all at the taxpayers expense. Let him make his peace with God and then summarily excute him.....

He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named
0
Points
He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named 03/24/08 - 04:06 am
0
0
This miserable piece of human

This miserable piece of human garbage isn't worth the price of a bullet to put in his head, the electric bill to fry his a@# or the needle wasted to inject him with poison. The only suitable punishment is that he die the same way he killed this poor young woman. I happily volunteer my services if they can't find someone with the stomache to swing the pipe.

Dark_Knight
0
Points
Dark_Knight 03/24/08 - 04:49 am
0
0
Dont put him in prison. Dont

Dont put him in prison. Dont even ask him why. Finish it.

namaste
0
Points
namaste 03/24/08 - 05:04 am
0
0
Anyone know whatever happened

Anyone know whatever happened to her dog? There's no way he'd have gotten close with my black lab around me. I just don't understand why someone didn't see or hear something or the dog didn't protect her from him. It says he didn't kill the dog so I wonder where the dog is now.

namaste
0
Points
namaste 03/24/08 - 05:15 am
0
0
And what the dog was doing

And what the dog was doing all those days he had with her...?

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 03/24/08 - 05:17 am
0
0
The dog was found before she

The dog was found before she was, I guess the family has her dog.

justputtin
1662
Points
justputtin 03/24/08 - 05:24 am
0
0
All I can think about reading

All I can think about reading this is this poor woman being alive this long under those conditions before being killed. I feel so sorry for her and her family. Fry this bast%&*. Quickly.

Jennifer30907
0
Points
Jennifer30907 03/24/08 - 05:29 am
0
0
The dog was found wondering

The dog was found wondering into a grocery store. I believe her mother now has the dog.

keepinitreal
0
Points
keepinitreal 03/24/08 - 05:55 am
0
0
Reminds me of a scene in a

Reminds me of a scene in a movie or something. He must have watched too many of them. Idiot. His role was the "The Psycho on the Run."

impalaq
0
Points
impalaq 03/24/08 - 06:14 am
0
0
may god have mercy on the

may god have mercy on the sick mans soul because im sure theres not to many out here that does!!!!!!!!!!!

stillamazed
1489
Points
stillamazed 03/24/08 - 07:10 am
0
0
What in the world can cause

What in the world can cause such evil to be inside of a person?? They need to execute him fast.......he couldn't kill a dog but he could kill a human being, what a sick sick animal he is. There are others like him out there and that is a scary fact.

getalife
5
Points
getalife 03/24/08 - 07:16 am
0
0
This man deserves to die,

This man deserves to die, maybe someone in prison will "take care" of him. He is a piece of crap!!

pofwe
5
Points
pofwe 03/24/08 - 07:28 am
0
0
Dirty bastard!

Dirty bastard!

WHATDIDIDO
0
Points
WHATDIDIDO 03/24/08 - 07:36 am
0
0
" He couldn't bring himself

" He couldn't bring himself to kill the dog." What a sick S.O.B. He valued an animal life over a human being.

tdp
0
Points
tdp 03/24/08 - 07:37 am
0
0
My heart breaks for her and

My heart breaks for her and her entire family, who have to live with the knowledge of what she went through before ultimately being murdered. I think this is a case in which the death penalty should be expedited and he should be executed w/in 30 days of his conviction.

gonefromaugusta
2
Points
gonefromaugusta 03/24/08 - 07:43 am
0
0
This is a sad story that the

This is a sad story that the young woman was probably happy for the company of the old man and his dog. Who would think a grungy old man, old enough for her grandfather, could be so heartless and cruel to such a precious, beautiful young trusting woman. Had she not trusted him, she could have run away from him in the first place, he said he couldn't keep up.
The man is a ruthless killer and she was not the first victim. I hope the police will check some of their other missing and unsolved murders of young, trusting women. I think they will find their man.

Parents this is a different world. Teach your young children not to trust at face value. It is hard, because you don't want your children living in fear of every one, but we want them to live !!!

S.C. Dawg
0
Points
S.C. Dawg 03/24/08 - 07:46 am
0
0
He should not be shown the

He should not be shown the mercy of a prison sentence, or a quick execution. I say pour sugar water on him and stake him in a bed of fire ants.

read this
1
Points
read this 03/24/08 - 07:59 am
0
0
It is hard to imagine that

It is hard to imagine that people like this get access to the same justice and mercy that everyone else enjoys. This article is too graphic for reading, especially if you have daughters.

john
1361
Points
john 03/24/08 - 08:01 am
0
0
Im with you Hypo.

Im with you Hypo.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 03/24/08 - 08:28 am
0
0
In my mind I can already hear

In my mind I can already hear the attorneys, paid by taxpayers, tuning up to tell a sad tale of how this man grew up in such bad circumstances that he must not suffer the ultimate price for this heinous crime. The Bible is specific as to what is to be done to those who commit murder and the whole "community" is held responsible if that person is NOT executed. Unfortunately some of today's people in charge are smarter than God and decide that we should use all restraint and take care of that individual until natural death occurs - AND the whole community suffers. Tax money which could be used wisely is spent on maintaining that killer's living costs, in this case probably 20 years or more - AND the whole community suffers. It is time for those in charge of the government, WE THE CITIZENS OF THESE UNITED STATES, to demand that those whom we elect not circumvent the law by allowing those who commit these crimes to use court appointed lawyers paid by tax money to keep murderers alive in which case the whole "community" suffers. As to causing extreme pain before death in the currently used lethal injection, which person has come back from death to tell about that pain?

hobo
0
Points
hobo 03/24/08 - 08:39 am
0
0
I would like 15 minutes alone

I would like 15 minutes alone with this scum

1trugent
0
Points
1trugent 03/24/08 - 09:01 am
0
0
Release him into the woods

Release him into the woods with a tracking device and let him be hunted and bring her family his head.

jack
11
Points
jack 03/24/08 - 09:08 am
0
0
Justice that is not swift is

Justice that is not swift is no justice at all. I am all for curbing the number and types of appeals a convicted killer or rapist can file before the sentence is carried out. DNA testing today eliminates those not guilty and definitely identifies those who are, so the 20 year appelas process is way outdated.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 03/24/08 - 09:15 am
0
0
Right there with you on that

Right there with you on that statement Jack....

CHATTYCAT
0
Points
CHATTYCAT 03/24/08 - 10:07 am
0
0
I THINK HE KILLED OTHER

I THINK HE KILLED OTHER HIKERS IN TENN. AND NORTH CAROL. NO TELLING HOW MANY OTHERS OVER THE YEARS. I just wish the legal system didn't take so *@@* long ! He should be shot on the spot.What a sicko!

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