Online petition aimed at keeping accused Potsdam murderer in jail nears goal of 2,000 votes; $8,130 raised for legal defense
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 6:04 am

An online petition aimed at keeping accused murderer Oral “Nick” Hillary behind bars is nearing 2,000 signatures as the deadline of June 15 approaches.

The online petition, at, is addressed to St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome Richards, and simply says “Keep Oral Nicholas ‘Nick’ Hillary Behind Bars!” had gathered 1,706 signatures. It opposes freeing Hillary on bail.

Meanwhile, a "Go Fund Me" webpage titled "Free the General" is raising money for Hillary's legal defense at The site has so far rasied $8,130 of a $50,000 goal.

Hillary is accused of the strangling death of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips of Potsdam in October, 2011. He was identified as a person who was interviewed by police early in the investigation, so speculation centered on him as a suspect.

Hillary was arrested May 15 after a grand jury returned an indictment against him, two and a half years after the murder.

“We have had some amazing success and I would like to achieve a goal of at least 2,000 signatures by June 15 at approximately 6 p.m. That is the time that I will be closing the petition officially,” Manchester said by email.

With over 1,700 signatures, Manchester is “beyond proud of our community. We have pulled together and shown support for an amazing little boy who deserves justice.”

There is another petition taking the opposite position. Its proposition is also addressed to Judge Richards, and is similarly simple: “Release Oral ‘Nick’ Hillary from Jail,” it says.

That petition has nearly 400 signatures on it. The originator of that petition is identified as “Truth Seeker, New York, NY.”