DAWSONVILLE, Ga., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- A drifter was sentenced to life in the Georgia state penitentiary after he confessed to abducting and killing a female hiker.
Hilton was seen talking to Emerson on a hiking trail on New Year's Day. Emerson's bloody hiking clothes were found Jan. 4 in a trash bin near a store where Hilton had used a pay phone, the arrest warrant stated. Hilton was arrested the following day after 911 callers reported him cleaning out his van at a gas station.
Hilton directed authorities to Emerson's body after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty. Authorities determined she was killed Jan. 4 by repeated blows to the head using a car jack handle.
"I believe he is nothing more than a bully and a weak-minded coward who preys on others," Susan Emerson, Meredith Emerson's mother, told the court before the sentencing. "He fancies himself a survivalist while anyone can see he's a scared little man on the run."
Hilton is also considered a suspect in the deaths of a women in Florida and an elderly couple in North Carolina.