KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A 29-year-old man is facing a second-degree murder charge for the shooting death of a KCK woman, who was a newlywed.
Regina and Merlena Hill tied the knot in October 2018, but they had been together for more than a decade.
“She was everything to me,” Merlena said. “She was the quiet one but when she spoke, she was real. It was always sincere.”
In the early morning hours of May 24, Regina was at a friend’s house near Kansas Avenue and South 71st Terrace when she was shot and killed.
“I just don’t understand it,” Merlena said while holding back tears. “Like, I just want to keep thinking it’s a dream. Regina was my best friend.”
According to Merlena, detectives told her that Regina and a man, later identified as Billy Hollingsworth, got into an argument and he allegedly shot her wife multiple times in the chest and stomach. Regina died at the scene.
“What were you so mad about that you shot her that many times?” she asked, thinking of Hollingsworth.
Hollingsworth was charged with second-degree murder. A motive wasn’t released, but Merlena said Regina and her alleged killer had crossed paths before. She said he made it clear that he didn’t approve of their relationship.
“I know for a fact that he did have a problem with us being lesbians,” she said. “He didn’t want his baby’s [mother] to have his kids around that.”
She said Regina was very outspoken and had confronted Hollingsworth about it in the past.
“She spoke to him about it and said her peace, like nobody can judge but God,” Merlena recalled.
While Merlena said she knew Hollingsworth didn’t like that Regina was a lesbian, there’s nothing she believes her wife could’ve said or done, before she was shot to death, that would motivate someone to kill her.
“Sometimes you have to walk away,” she said. “Now your life is gone, and her life is gone all over what? For what?”
As Merlena tried to wrap her mind around the loss of her soulmate, she thought back to all the struggles she and Regina endured together.
“It was a time when it was just me and her, sleeping in cars and sleeping in hallways,” she said. “Regina was the one I depended on. When nobody was there, she was.”
The grieving widow said her life will never be the same.
“Everybody else is going to be able to go on with life, but [Regina] was all I knew,” Merlena said.
The official narrative surrounding the death of Regina Hill has not been released. The case is still an open investigation, and some court documents have been sealed.
Hollingsworth is being held on a $250,000 bond. He’s due back in court on June 11.