PORT ALLEN — One of two men suspected in the beating death of a Florida woman admitted to a reporter inside a Port Allen courtroom that he killed the victim.
Immediately after an extradition hearing Thursday, Tyler J. McLain, 24, of Port Orange, Fla., choked back tears as he told an Advocate reporter he beat to death Laura Hill, 53, and beat unconscious her daughter, Angela Hill, 25, on June 9.
“It was a huge mistake … a stupid-ass decision,” McClain said. “It wasn’t over drugs. I don’t know where it came from. I didn’t mean to kill her.”
Before the hearing, McClain and his co-defendant, Bradley A. Suntich, 25, also of Port Orange, remained shackled in the courtroom waiting for 18th Judicial District Judge James Best to arrive.
McClain and Suntich sat on opposite ends of the jury seating area, laughing about how they weren’t given razors to shave with at the West Baton Rouge Parish Detention Center before appearing in court.
During their 15-minute hearing, the pair declined to have a defense lawyer appointed for them.
They also waived extradition, agreeing to be transported back to Volusia County, Fla., to face first-degree murder and attempted murder charges.
Both victims, as well as the suspects, are from Port Orange.
After the hearing, Suntich bowed his head, and twice declined to speak to a reporter.
McClain, however, agreed to an interview, saying he dated Angela Hill for six years and deserves to be punished, even if it means getting the death penalty.
“I just want to get this over with,” he said. “I’ll go with whatever they want to give me.”
McClain also said he and Suntich didn’t have a specific destination in mind when they stole Laura Hill’s Toyota sport utility vehicle and started driving west.
“We didn’t have a plan,” he said. “We just started driving.”
McClain and Suntich were arrested on June 10 after leading sheriff’s deputies and a Louisiana State Police trooper on a 12-mile chase through West Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes reaching speeds over 100 mph.
During the pursuit, the men threw several objects believed to be drugs from the stolen SUV, West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes said.
“That’s why we charged them with littering,” the sheriff said Wednesday.
The Floridians were finally caught after crashing into the trooper’s car as they tried to turn around on a dead-end street.
After the arrests, Cazes said, one of them told investigators, “Y’all got us.”
One of the suspects further admitted to beating the two Port Orange women with a hammer and stealing the SUV, Cazes said.
Florida authorities arriving at Laura Hill’s home on Sunset Cove Drive in Port Orange found the woman dead in an upstairs bedroom and her daughter, Angela Hill alive but unconscious in another bedroom, police said.
Angela Hill was in critical condition in a Daytona Beach hospital Thursday afternoon, Port Orange police reported.
In addition to counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder, Florida authorities also charged McClain with armed robbery and grand theft auto, according to an arrest warrant.
Louisiana authorities booked McClain on four counts of littering, no seat belt, possession of stolen things and three counts of drug possession, the warrant says.
Florida authorities charged Suntich with first-degree murder, attempted felony murder, armed robbery and grand theft, an arrest warrant shows.
Louisiana authorities booked Suntich with reckless operation, aggravated resisting arrest by flight, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, speeding, criminal mischief, improper license plate display, failure to stop at a stop sign, no seat belt and four counts of littering, the warrant shows.
Prosecutor Becky Chustz said Thursday the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has the option of pursuing the Louisiana criminal counts against Suntich and McClain after they go through the Florida court system.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported last week that both suspects have lengthy rap sheets.
Suntich was just released from custody in April after serving four years in prison on a 2007 burglary and purse-snatching conviction, the newspaper reported.
He previously had spent a year in prison as an 18-year-old in 2004 for animal fighting, the newspaper reported.
In between prison stints, Suntich, the newspaper said, spent time in the Volusia County Branch Jail for numerous offenses including theft, shoplifting, loitering and marijuana possession.
McClain, like Suntich, first went to prison at age 18 in 2005 on a burglary conviction, the newspaper reported.
McClain was sent back to prison on another burglary conviction in 2007 and released in 2009, according to the newspaper.
Since 2004, McClain has been arrested 10 times in Volusia County on criminal counts ranging from disorderly conduct to battery and robbery, the newspaper reported.