Crime & Courts

Couple’s torture, murder of Wichita man “horrific beyond imagination,” judge says

Five people were charged in connection with the disappearance and torture killing of 33-year-old Scottie Goodpaster. They are, clockwise from top left: Willie E. Morris, Alexandria Scott, Jeff Hillard, Brian Bussart and Heidi Hillard.
Five people were charged in connection with the disappearance and torture killing of 33-year-old Scottie Goodpaster. They are, clockwise from top left: Willie E. Morris, Alexandria Scott, Jeff Hillard, Brian Bussart and Heidi Hillard. Courtesy photo

Even the judge couldn’t fathom the torture 33-year-old Scottie Goodpaster endured before he died.

As he sentenced Jeff and Heidi Hillard to life in prison plus additional time on Tuesday, District Judge Bruce Brown called the married couple’s crimes “horrific beyond imagination” and reaching the “depth of depravity,” according to a news release from the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.

The Hillards, who lived in Valley Center before their 2016 arrests, were part of an angry group that kidnapped and attacked Goodpaster and his girlfriend over $185 methanphetamine debt two years ago.

What Goodpaster and his girlfriend went through was shocking and agonizing, police and prosecutors have said:

The pair were awakened and taken separately from their Wichita hotel room on Nov. 5, 2016, before being tortured for hours in a shed outside of the Hillards’ house. The assaults dolled out to Goodpaster’s girlfriend included being choked, shocked and raped with a stun gun, tied up, beaten and bitten by a dog.

When she put the blame for the missing meth money on Goodpaster out of fear for her life, the group turned on him.

They hit him with an ax, a hammer, a wooden board and a knife; drove staples into his face; shoved objects into his mouth; and attached jumper cables to his genitals. They wrapped his head with tape, shoved him in a white pickup truck and attacked him more when he tried to escape.

Ultimately, Goodpaster was taken to a wooded area in Harvey County and hung from a tree.

It took searchers six days to find his body.

For their part in the torture and killing, Brown ordered the Hillards to serve the maximum time allowed, the DA’s news release said. A jury in September found them guilty of a number of crimes including first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, rape and aggravated battery.

Heidi Hillard, 44, can’t get out of prison until she serves at least 94 1/2 years.

Her husband, 51, will be incarcerated for at least 77 1/2 years before he has a chance at freedom.

Their defense attorneys plan to appeal the sentences to the Kansas Supreme Court, the DA’s news release said.

The Hillards are the second and third people who took part in the kidnapping and torture to be sentenced. Last May, Brown sent Willie Morris to prison for at least 73 years, 4 months.

The two others, 41-year-old Brian Bussart and 28-year-old Alexandria Scott, are awaiting adjudication of their cases. Both testifed against the Hillards at their trial in September.

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Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker
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