HAVERHILL — It appears now that the trial of a Vermont man charged in last winter's brutal stabbing and slashing death of a woman at a Littleton hotel won't take place before November.
According to Grafton County Superior Court records, the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office and lawyers for Rodney Hill, 38, of West Danville, Vt., have apparently dropped their efforts to reach a plea agreement in the case.
A plea and sentencing hearing between the two sides scheduled for February was canceled, and on Friday the state filed a structuring proposal that tentatively schedules jury selection for late-September and lists a Nov. 3 target date for the trial.
Hill is charged with first- and second-degree murder in the death of Catherine "Kitty" Houghton, 70, a veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service who, prosecutors say, happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time last January when she and Hill were both guests at the Hampton Inn off Route 302 in Littleton.
Several months ago, a New Hampshire public defender did not challenge a Superior Court judge's ruling that Hill was competent to stand trial.
Hill is now represented by attorney Mark Sisti of Chichester.
Senior Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General Susan Morrell and Hill's former lawyer, Martha Hornick, refused over the past year to discuss with reporters the possibility of a plea agreement or say what a possible sentence might be. Morrell presented alternative first- and second-degree murder charges to the grand jury that indicted Hill last June.
The charges respectively, accuse Hill of "purposely" or "recklessly" causing the death of the trustee of the Mountain School in Bethlehem by stabbing and slashing her. He has been held without bail at the Grafton County jail in North Haverhill since shortly after his arrest the night of the killing on Jan. 28, 2013.
Hill, according to court records, told police that night he was the "son of Lucifer" and attacked Houghton of the San Francisco Bay area because he believed she was his father, the Devil, in disguise, and was out to harm him and his family.