An elderly Jekyll Island man intended to take his own life Wednesday after allegedly killing his 83-year-old invalid wife, but instead wound up in a standoff with state troopers at the couple’s Villas By the Sea condominium, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The stalemate ended around 10:50 a.m. when a Georgia State Patrol SWAT team was able to gain access to the condo unit and take Joseph Norwood Hilton into custody without incident, according to state patrol reports. The body of his wife, Carol Ann Hilton, was found inside their home. An criminal arrest warrant filed Wednesday in Glynn County Magistrate Court alleges that Joseph Hilton, 82, suffocated his wife.
He remained Thursday in the Glynn County Detention Center, charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, concealing the death of another and willful obstruction of the law, jail records show.
The investigation has been turned over to the Georgia State Patrol. Although that investigation is just beginning, it appears Carol Anne Hilton had been an invalid due to health reasons for an extended period and that Joseph Hilton was his wife’s sole caretaker, the GBI said.
“We think he was the main caretaker for his wife for some time,” said Stacy Carson, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Kingsland office. “It is a sad situation all around.”
The GBI is not releasing information on how Carol Hilton was killed, citing the ongoing investigation. Her body was taken to the GBI Crime Lab in Savannah for an autopsy, Carson said. Evidence inside the condominium indicated Joseph Hilton intended to take his own life after allegedly killing his wife, Carson said.
State troopers were called at around 8:50 a.m. Wednesday to check on the welfare of the couple at the Hiltons’ condo, unit 387 at 1175 North Beach Drive at the condo complex near Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach. A standoff ensued when Joseph Hilton allegedly told troopers through the door that he had killed his wife, then refused requests to step outside or let law enforcement inside, according to the state patrol. He also told troopers that he was armed.
The state patrol’s SWAT team arrived around 10 a.m. The SWAT team gained entry around 10:50 a.m. after persuading Hilton to open the condo unit’s door. The Georgia State Patrol serves as law enforcement for the state-owned island.