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Bethlehem mom arrested in connection with kids' slayings

christy.smith@gwinnettdailypost.com

BETHLEHEM - A Bethlehem mother wanted in the stabbing deaths of her two children was arrested early Tuesday morning by Atlanta police.

An anonymous tip led Atlanta police officers to 1269 Gault St. S.E., where Felicia Hill, 26, was found hiding in a closet at about 1 a.m. Tuesday in an apartment, according to a press release from the Atlanta Police Department. She was arrested without incident, police said.

Patricia Hill, the paternal grandmother of 9-year-old Elexis Nicole Hill and 4-year-old James Ross Hill, said she is happy Felicia Hill, who is also known as Felicia Belle Williams, has been caught.

"We are happy that they caught her, and we hope they give her the maximum, whatever the maximum is," Patricia Hill said. "We are doing a lot better now. We know that justice will be served, and now my grandbabies can rest in peace."

Hill was turned over to Barrow County authorities less than an hour after her arrest.

"She is in good health and is cooperating with investigators," said Barrow County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Murray Kogod.

Hill is being held in the Barrow County Detention Center on charges of felony murder, murder, cruelty to children in the first degree, aggravated assault under the Family Violence Act and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime. She will face a magistrate judge at 8 a.m. today in the detention center to determine whether or not she is eligible for bond. The hearing will be closed to the public and media.

The charges stem from the death of Hill's children, who were fatally stabbed Jan. 3 in their Tanners Bridge Circle home. Elexis and James were buried Monday in the Apalachee Shoals Baptist Church cemetery in Bethlehem.

Hill is also accused of attacking her father, Charles Barnes, who suffered head wounds the day the children were slain.

Kogod said the Barrow County Sheriff's Department had been working with the Atlanta Police Department in the case after receiving an anonymous tip, and Barrow County authorities were notified almost immediately after the arrest was made.

A $3,000 reward sponsored by local businesses was established for the person who gave information leading to Hill's arrest.

Police say they do not know what the relationship is between Hill and the resident of the apartment where she was arrested.

"The person who lived there was very cooperative, and they allowed us in," said officer Joe Cobb, a spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department.

This is not Hill's first brush with the law.

Her Barrow County arrest record goes back to 2002 and includes charges of prostitution, burglary, theft, shoplifting and probation violations. She was arrested in November for allegedly stealing a roll of lottery tickets from the Kangaroo convenience store in Winder, and in 2002, she was accused of breaking into a house on Tanners Bridge Circle and taking electronics and jewelry.

She had also faced drug charges in Barrow County and had agreed to enter a substance abuse program in lieu of probation.

A trust fund for family expenses has been established at Community Bank & Trust. Donations may be made at any branch.