Crime

Modesto man was free on bail when he tried to rape woman, killed her, prosecutors say

Video from homicide scene in downtown Modesto, arrest made

Officers from the Modesto Police Department are investigating a possible crime scene where body was found in downtown Modesto on Monday, May 13, 2019. A suspect, Joseph Chapman of Modesto, was arrested Friday, May 17, 2019.
Up Next
Officers from the Modesto Police Department are investigating a possible crime scene where body was found in downtown Modesto on Monday, May 13, 2019. A suspect, Joseph Chapman of Modesto, was arrested Friday, May 17, 2019.

Prosecutors believe Joseph Robert Chapman was out on bail when he tried to rape Christina Hill and allegedly killed her, according to filed documents in Stanislaus Superior Court.

Hill, a 47-year-old transient woman who frequented downtown Modesto, was found May 13 next to trash cans in a driveway behind several businesses at G and 18th streets.

A few days after her body was found, Modesto police investigators arrested Chapman. The 37-year-old Modesto man has been charged with murder in Hill’s death.

The murder charge includes a special circumstance allegation that indicates the murder was committed while Chapman tried to rape Hill, according to a criminal complaint filed May 21 by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.

ET Body Found 2.jpg
Modesto Police department investigators at the scene Monday May 13, 2019, where the body of Christina Hill was discovered near 18th and G streets in downtown Modesto, Calif. Erin Tracy etracy@modbee.com

The murder charge also includes an enhancement that alleges Chapman was out on bail when he killed Hill. Chapman faces a charge of assault with a deadly weapon in the other criminal case.

The alleged assault occurred April 3. Prosecutors say Chapman used a car to assault Aric Alias, according to a criminal complaint in that case filed April 16. Chapman remained in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail until April 26, when he posted a $52,000 bail bond and was released.

Chapman also faces two misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence of alcohol in the assault with a deadly weapon case.

On May 16, police officials released video from a convenience store’s security camera. In the video was a shirtless man, later identified as Chapman, who at that time was considered by police as “a person of interest” in the homicide investigation.

Modesto Police Department officials have announced the victim from Monday’s homicide has been identified as 47-year-old Christina Hill of Modesto.

The video was from La Loma Liquors about 12:30 p.m. May 13, about an hour after Hill’s body was discovered around the corner at G and 18th streets. Sgt. Kalani Souza has said the suspect also was captured on video from security cameras at several other businesses in the area.

Chapman was identified after police officials received an anonymous tip. About 9:20 p.m. May 17, police found Chapman during a traffic stop in central Modesto.

Chapman made his first court appearance May 21. He did not enter a plea. His arraignment hearing was postponed until May 28. On Friday, Chapman remained in custody and was being held without bail.

Related stories from Modesto Bee

Rosalio Ahumada writes news stories about criminal court cases in Stanislaus County for The Modesto Bee, issues related to immigration and immigrant communities and breaking news related to crime and public safety. From time to time, he covers the Modesto City Council meetings. He has worked as a news reporter in the Northern San Joaquin Valley since 2004.

  Comments