Testimony begins in hearing for man charged in mother, daughter - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Testimony begins in hearing for man charged in mother, daughter murders

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(10/16/13) - Emotional testimony Wednesday from the mother of a man accused of murdering his girlfriend and her daughter in Flint this summer.

It marked the start of the preliminary hearing, in 68th District Court, for Michael Poole Sr.

Yolanda Hill, 42, and her 11-year-old daughter Cherish Hill-Renfro were found dead in their apartment at the Atherton East complex, on the city's south side, July 20.

As ABC12 previously reported, police said Poole confessed to killing them both, Yolanda before Cherish and nearly one day before their bodies were discovered. See story HERE.

Poole's mother, who we've been ordered to not identify, said her son called her several times the night of July 20. He eventually walked to her Flint Township apartment. 

She sobbed, Poole cried, as she described him telling her both Yolanda and Cherish were dead.

She testified she didn't think he was telling the truth and didn't want to believe him. She waited hours before physically checking on them though she did try earlier by phone. 

She described not being able to wake her son up after he fell asleep on her couch. She saw him with a bottle of pills, suspected he swallowed some, but didn't witness it. He was later taken to the hospital by ambulance. 

Poole's mother said he has a history of mental illness, takes medication and had been seeing a psychiatrist. 

When she was finished with her testimony, she walked past Yolanda and Cherish's family members and whispered, "I'm so sorry," twice.

"She should have reacted earlier," said Shelley Hill, Yolanda's mother.  "She should have believed him at first."

"When I saw him crying, I had no feelings," said Cynthia Renfro, Cherish's grandmother.  "And his mother? I had no feelings because I'm still hurting myself."

New Wednesday - talk of a new charge for Poole.

Genesee County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Patrick McCombs told Judge M. Cathy Dowd prosecutors intend to seek a first degree criminal sexual conduct charge at the conclusion of the hearing.

The officer in charge of the case, Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Bill Jennings, briefly testified about that.

"I requested Dr. Hunter collect a CSC (criminal sexual conduct) kit," said Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Bill Jennings. "Based on the way Cherish was positioned on the bed, I believed it was possible there may have been some type of sexual activity."

Jennings said he brought the evidence to the MSP Bridgeport Crime Lab.   

Jennings said he interviewed Poole two days after Yolanda and Cherish's bodies were found, July 22, after he was released from the hospital.

Poolie initially stated he couldn't remember anything, claimed to have blackouts and said he suffered from mental illness, according to Jennings, but changed his mind when confronted  with his mother's statements.

"At some point during the interview, he said, 'I remember now,'" Jennings said. "He (said) he had killed Yolanda for no reason."

Why did he kill Cherish?

Jennings gave him a scenario about not wanting the little girl to live without her mother.

"And he said yes," Jennings said.

Poole currently faces two counts of first degree premeditated murder. His hearing continues next month.

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