Sandstone man sentenced to 30 years for attacking couple with hammer

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 11:31 AM CDT
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OGILVIE, MN. (Northern News Now) - A Sandstone man has been sentenced after attacking a couple in their home with a hammer, leaving them with serious head and facial injuries.

Troy Allan Hill, 48, has been sentenced to 30 years for attacking a couple in their home just south of Ogilvie.

Hill originally had 19 charges for the incident but was only convicted of five including second-degree attempted murder and first-degree burglary.

According to the criminal complaint, on November 27, 2022, at around 4:30 a.m., the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to 1385 160th Avenue in Ogilvie after receiving calls regarding an assault.

The caller stated a man, later identified as Hill, was trying to kill someone.

Upon arrival, authorities asked the caller to come outside but then observed a frantic, panicked-looking female come to the door saying, “Come here, hurry.”

According to court documents, Hill is the caller’s ex and father of her four children.

She had a Domestic Assault No Contact Order (DANCO) on Hill as he has tried to kill her before and has violated the order.

When deputies entered the home they saw a man, later identified as the caller’s boyfriend, holding a shotgun and hitting Hill, who was on the floor, with the butt of the shotgun.

He was ordered to drop the gun and he complied.

The boyfriend also yelled that Hill broke in, hit people with a hammer, and it would have his fingerprints on it. To which Hill replied, “Yeah, I did have a hammer.”

Court documents say authorities then saw a man, later identified as Jeff Ponto, laying in the doorway of the master bedroom, his face covered in blood.

His wife, Becky Ponto, was found on the floor next to the bed.

Blood was found on both sides of the bed and it appeared she was assaulted while laying in bed.

Deputies stated Becky Ponto did not appear to be breathing. They then began chest compressions until she began the breathe again.

Jeff and Becky Ponto were then airlifted to the Twin Cities due to the “severe trauma to their heads and facial areas.”

Hill was transported to a hospital by ambulance for his injuries.

The caller’s boyfriend was also Becky Ponto’s son.

He told authorities he and his girlfriend, Hill’s ex, were staying at the Ponto’s house because Hill threatened to kill her and sent a text saying he knew where they were.

In addition, he said he used a fireplace poker to defend himself from Hill.

Court documents say deputies saw the door of the attached garage was not latched and when they arrived the exterior garage door was open.

Authorities believe this is how Hill entered the home.

Hill’s ex then spoke to deputies on scene saying Hill tried to kill her a month before.

She stated Hill told her during the incident that “he was going to finish this.”

Hill’s ex received severe facial injuries from the assault.

It was after this attack that the DANCO was issued prohibiting him from having contact with her or her residence.

Records show there were four instances of him breaking the order within the month.

Becky Ponto’s son told authorities the next day that they located what was believed to be a tracking device in Hill’s ex’s purse.

According to the criminal complaint, Hill told authorities he and his ex had been having problems, she was MIA, and he was mad that she wasn’t there for the kids.

He also admitted to putting a tracking device in her purse and using an app to track her.

Hill told authorities he went to the Ponto residence to see if his ex was there.

When he parked he grabbed a hammer that was in his car in case he needed to protect himself.

Court documents say he told authorities his original intent was to look in the windows to see his she was there.

He then allegedly knocked on the door and said Jeff Ponto let him inside.

Hill said that’s when his ex’s boyfriend came at him and he used the hammer to attack.

Becky and Jeff Ponto were able to come home from the hospital three months later.

According to their CaringBridge page, they both had multiple surgeries and were put into a rehab facility for therapy to regain strength and to work on speech and walking.

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