Police: ‘Hilltop Creeper’ Suspect Confessed To Crimes


UPDATED: Thursday September 27, 2012 8:29 AM

The man accused of being the 'Hilltop Creeper' made a brief stop in court on Wednesday before being rushed from the room.

Overnight, officers combed through evidence collected from the home of Deneen Leonard Black.

Authorities arrested 32-year-old Black Tuesday evening in connection with a string of home break-ins and assaults during the night and early morning hours. Black was arrested at his Hilltop home and was charged with one count of burglary.

Police said that Black has now confessed to breaking into a home in Sullivant Avenue in July and also committing numerous "similar crimes."

Fingerprints at the Sullivant Avenue scene matched Black's, according to Sgt. Dave Pelphrey.

"This suspect was touching the victim's lips with his fingers. She lay motionless and the suspect left the residence," said a court official on Wednesday.

That physical evidence led to police conducting surveillance on Black.

"As the surveillance continued, sometimes around the clock, we saw that Mr. Black did exhibit behaviors that we attributed to the action of the 'Hilltop Creeper,'" Pelphrey said.

Law enforcement officials have hunted for months for the ''Hilltop Creeper," who was known to sneak into women's homes and stand over them while they sleep. In some cases, the man touched victims inappropriately.

"Mr. Black was still under surveillance yesterday morning when we filed the warrant. Once the warrant was filed, the surveillance team moved into place and placed Mr. Black under arrest without further incident," said Pelphrey.

A woman who lived with him, identified as his fiancée, said that she was unaware of what was happening.

Black lived with the woman, who 10TV News did not identify, and her three children. She said that her children were trying to deal with what has happened and that the safety of her children was her No. 1 priority.

The woman asked that the community respect her family’s privacy.

Detectives said Black cooperated and gave them information that makes them confident he is responsible for most, if not all, of the 19 incidents linked to the "Hilltop Creeper" case.

Lisa Sharp said that she fell victim to the “Hilltop Creeper” on Aug. 8.

According to Sharp, a man slipped into her home through an unlocked window and crept up the stairs to her bedroom.

“I can’t say he fondled me. I can’t say he touched me. But something made me turn around,” Sharp said. “I told him very bluntly and forcefully to get out of my house. And he didn’t make a sound. Like I said, he didn’t act like he had to make a mad dash to the door.”

Sharp said that the man left out the back door.

“He let me know how vulnerable I was,” Sharp said. I think God, thank God, he’s not the Hilltop Slasher.”

Sharp said that the incident has left her family emotionally scarred. Her daughter walks around the house with a baseball bat, and Sharp has not slept in her bed since the night the man entered her home.

“I don’t think that’s a feeling you can get over just because he’s been caught,” Sharp said.

Black is currently charged with burglary and is being held at the Franklin County Jail.

Pelphrey said that Columbus residents should still be vigilant.

"It still is a good idea to continue to have a safety plan, prepare for things like this to happen, not just the west side but any place in the city this could pop up," Pelphrey said.

Black is a registered sex offender from a 2004 conviction for sexual battery. He also has a armed robbery conviction out of Illinois and two convictions for having a weapon under disability. He was scheduled to be sentenced on Friday out of a 2011 conviction.

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