Fugitive who claims ties to Notorious B.I.G. murder weapon apprehended
BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporter August 16, 2013 6:04PM
Clayton Armstrong Hill walked away from a federal prison camp in Georgia, authorities said.
Updated: September 18, 2013 6:12AM
A former Chicago man who pleaded guilty to federal tax fraud charges — and who claims a weapon used in the unsolved murder of The Notorious B.I.G. passed through his hands — was apprehended Friday in Texas after escaping from an Atlanta prison on May 28.
Clayton Armstrong Hill, 43, spent nearly three months on the lam, after the U.S. Marshals Office said he walked away from a federal prison camp in Atlanta.
The Deputy U.S. Marshal assigned to Hill’s case received information Thursday that Hill was residing with his wife in Texas, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The information was sent to the North Texas Fugitive Task Force, authorities said.
Investigating the lead, the task force arrested Hill at an apartment in Arlington, Texas on Friday morning, authorities said.
Hill was convicted of tax fraud in June 2011 and sentenced to serve 92 months with the Bureau of Prisons. He had been serving time at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta until he was discovered missing during an evening count of inmates.
According to an affidavit filed by a U.S. Marshal in Georgia, Hill had simply “walked off the grounds” of the federal prison camp.
U.S. Marshal spokeswoman Gretchen Fortin said Hill was among a group of inmates considered a “low-level” security risk who do maintenance and groundskeeping at the penitentiary. Those inmates weren’t convicted of violent crimes, Fortin said.
And while they’re not supposed to leave the facility walls, she said nothing prevents them from doing so. “He just simply walked away from the facility,” Fortin had said.
An arrest warrant issued by a U.S. Magistrate Judge on June 3 had charged Hill with escape from a federal facility.
Hill was scheduled on Friday to go before a magistrate judge in Texas for an initial appearance on the escape charges. He was to be extradited to Atlanta pending the disposition of his case, the Marshals Service said.
Hill and his wife, Tamara Soyini Davidson, were indicted by a federal grand jury on 41 counts of fraud in 2009. The couple was charged with preparing 121 false federal income tax returns made out in the names of actual taxpayers.
Davidson also pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud, court records show. The judge handed her a prison sentence of a little more than six months — time the judge ruled Davidson had already served — and put her on a period of supervised release that ended in September.
Hill, meanwhile, complained about the length of his sentence in a court filing last February that’s still pending, and he argued in part that his cooperation with federal prosecutors should have received more consideration.
Hill said he told the FBI and a federal prosecutor in November 2010 how, allegedly under orders from Nation of Islam officials, he met with an individual in 1997 and retrieved a weapon that he was told was used in the murder of the late rapper Christopher Wallace, also known as Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls, who was shot to death in Los Angeles in 1997.
In the court filing, Hill alleged he is a former member of the Nation of Islam and was once a mid-level official in its Atlanta mosque. He alleged he was told to deliver the weapon to another Nation of Islam member. The Nation of Islam has not commented.