Hilton pleads guilty

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Kershaw man gets 25 years for killing wife; must serve at least 21 years

By Jesef Williams

Prison time is coming for the Kershaw man who admittedly killed his wife in February.  

Joseph Daniel Hilton, 62, 8992 Old Jefferson Highway, was sentenced to 25 years in the S.C. Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter during a General Session court hearing Wednesday, April 17. 

Circuit Court Judge Ernest Kinard Jr. gave the sentence. 

Hilton had been charged in the Feb. 11 shooting death of his wife, Deborah Faile Hilton, 59. 

Late that night, he called 911 and told the operator he had just shot his wife inside their home and believed she was dead. 

Hilton said he and his wife had been arguing and that “she just kept on and on and on,” according a recount in a media release from the 6th Circuit Solicitor's Office. 

Authorities arrived to find his wife's body on the floor just inside the front door. She was pronounced dead at the scene. 

“An autopsy determined that she died from a single gunshot wound to her chest, which pierced her heart and her lungs,” the release said. 

Investigators recovered a Springfield 1911 .45-caliber pistol, a fired cartridge case and a fired bullet – all inside the home. Authorities determined that the pistol fired the cartridge case and bullet. 

Hilton, who admitted to shooting his wife with the recovered pistol, was arrested at the scene. 

“He indicated the two argued. It kept getting worse and got out of hand,” the release said. “He pulled his pistol out, and before he knew it, he shot her.” 

Hilton will have to serve at least 85 percent of the 25-year sentence, which equals to a little more than 21 years. 


Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152