Westland man sentenced to life without parole for murder of Jacob Hills

The man who shot and killed 18-year-old Jacob Hills last year will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Avion Sanders, 24, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for a first-degree charge. A jury found him guilty of murder and weapons charges last month. He's currently in prison for resisting police in 2020.

"I pray that you are given no sympathy or mercy from anyone and that you suffer for the rest of your existence," Hills' father, Terrance Quaine Jr., said to Sanders during his sentencing. "I don’t even know where to start to tell the court the impact that the senseless brutal death Jacob has had."

Sanders, of Westland, murdered Hills, who was from Grand Blanc, in July 2022. A search that led to Hills' body began after his vehicle was found abandoned in Dearborn Heights on July 25, 2022.

Avion Sanders during his sentencing on Nov. 29, 2023

Police in Dearborn Heights were contacted and a missing persons report was filed. Shortly after, police said Hills' father received an anonymous call that said his son was in a basement on Warren in Detroit.

Police responded to the address and found Hills shot multiple times.

"To wake up every morning, on the nights you actually get a little bit of sleep, knowing you will face another day without your son, is a feeling like no other," Quaine said. 

Hills loved gaming, computers, and shoes, his father added. He was set to join the military the month before his death.

Jacob Hills

According to the Wayne County prosecutor, Hills and Sanders were together on July 24. Later, Hills met with Sanders at a party in Detroit. Hills brought his new AR-15, authorities said.

Quaine said that the night before his son was murdered, he drove an incoherent Sanders home and even carried him into his home. His stepmother, Erika Morse, said Hills was again the designated driver for Sanders and his friends the night he was murdered. 

It is believed that when the pair went into the basement of the home, Sanders killed Hills, stole his gun, and abandoned the car in Dearborn Heights.

"One night of bad choices shouldn’t define his entire life," Morse said of Hills' decision to spend time with Sanders.

Morse said she is trying to forgive Sanders for killing Hills, but hasn't been able to. She told Sanders that if she doesn't forgive him in her lifetime, she "will see you in hell, Avion, where you and I will finish this."