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A Georgia hiker who was killed and decapitated in the north Georgia mountains, used her wits and her martial arts training to fight off her attacker for four days, desperately trying to save her life. Details of the last days of Meredith Emerson emerged in an interview with Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Gary Michael Hilton confessed to the GBI that he killed and decapitated the 24-year-old University of Georgia graduate on a hiking trial. He gave details of the four days between the time he abducted her on the trail and when he killed her four days later.

Meredith Emerson's Last Days

According to Keenan, Hilton gave the following account of Emerson's last days:

Hilton said he targeted Emerson because she was a woman. They hiked together on Jan. 1 on the mountain trail, but Hilton, 61, could not keep up with Emerson. He waited for her to head back down the trail before he attacked her with a military-style knife.

Hilton demanded that Emerson give him her ATM card, but she immediately fought back, grabbing the knife blade and a baton Hilton had. "She wouldn't stop," Hilton told investigators. "She wouldn't stop fighting. And yelling at the same time. So I needed to both control her and silence her."

Hilton punched her hard. Blackening both of her eyes and probably breaking her nose, but Emerson continued to fight back. He said he calmed her down by telling her that all he wanted was her credit card and PIN number.

He finally managed to get her back down the trail and he put her and her dog Ella into his van. For the next three days, Emerson bought herself time over the next three days by giving Hilton the wrong PIN numbers.

We Didn't Get There in Time

"That's the one thing that broke my heart in this case," GBI agent Clay Bridges told the newspaper. "She was doing everything she was supposed to do to stay alive, and we didn't get there in time."

On the day he killed Emerson, he told her she was going home, but instead he tied her to tree. He went back to his van to make coffee then returned to her location. "I was afraid you weren't coming back," Emerson told Hilton.

He walked around behind her and hit her over the head several times with a car jack handle. Hilton said he couldn't bring himself to kill her dog.

"It was hard," Hilton told Agent Bridges. "You gotta remember we had spent several good days together."

See Also:
Killer: Hiker Fought to End for Survival

The Gary Michael Hilton Case

Discuss The Emerson Case

Photo: Family Photo


March 24, 2008 at 7:43 am
(1) Patsy says:

Don’t know why we comment because nothing isn’t ever done to these animals. They are just given a few years and then let out to kill again or put on death row. These animals should be put to death immediately as soon as it can be proven that they committed the rape, kidnapping, or murder. Here he is confessing that he kept her for four days; her scared; fighting for her life; DEATH TO HIM!!!

April 3, 2008 at 9:40 pm
(2) Stephanie says:

It is ridiculous. We know what he did! His life should be forfeit!!!!!!!! We the people are crying out for justice and protection from these animals!!! The blood of so many are equally on the hands of the corrupt God-playing judges in this land. What a terrible politically correct mess this country is in.

December 23, 2008 at 9:33 pm
(3) Fayeanne says:

“4 GOOD days together”???????? this guy is sick.. i think we should cut his head off just like he did to her!!!

there shouldn’t even be any constitutional ‘rights’ to people like Ted Bundy, Hilton, and other serial killers. Can you tell me exactly what rights they gave to their victims???

November 5, 2009 at 11:52 am
(4) JB says:

Why are we even waiting? Kill this defective human now. No one cares what his childhood was like, we dont care why he did this to someone whos done nothing wrong. He thought it out and so have we. You will die immediately for what youve done. Revenge, justice, eye for an eye whatever you want to call it just make it happen. If an animal is rabid we dont ask it why it keeps biting us….we kill it to protect the rest of us.

March 11, 2010 at 11:01 am
(5) ccc says:

Fayeanne: Unfortunately, I think he was referring to his good days with the dog.

August 26, 2011 at 10:16 pm
(6) Anastasia says:

So sad :( I believe you’re correct……

November 23, 2010 at 2:07 pm
(7) Eric says:

I surely hope this man is raped in prison before his death (hopefully) sentence is carried out. I love it when men like these pay for malicious crimes to innocent women. Hopefully, an African American with a huge member and a thing for hairy old men will fall in love with his anus. I surely hope this chocoloate warrior played massive amounts of football prior to his convictions and, at least, does 300 pushups a day. I yearn to hear the anus rip of this man, then his demise before an execution commitee. I’d pick a black man to rape him or a skin head white supremacist with hairy arms and no teeth named Bob. Well maybe 3 teeth are good. Two top teeth and one on the bottom to bite on his back real good ya hear? Once everything is done and over with, I’d like his soul to walk the woods of his victims. Miserable and cold, like his blood… LOSER

May 9, 2011 at 11:17 am
(8) Judge says:

put the animal to death he is not a human being

May 27, 2011 at 2:52 am
(9) Bfot says:

This girl was one of my best friends as a child. We went through middle school together. She didn’t deserve this, years later my heart will never stop breaking

August 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm
(10) Anastasia says:

To call this guy an animal is wrong in my opinion! He’s a MONSTER! Animals very rarely kill unless they’re protecting their young or feel threatened…..How could this poor woman POSSIBLY have made him feel threatened in ANY way??

He’s a fkn MONSTER not an animal! A psychotic MONSTER!

February 12, 2012 at 8:40 am
(11) d for death says:

deep down we are like him that is why you are at this site and why me and you are addicted to death just dont have the balls to do it

March 1, 2012 at 4:02 am
(12) Erock says:

D, u are absolutely wrong.I hope u get help before u do something similiar, u sick freak!

April 11, 2012 at 10:45 am
(13) shamgar says:

these atrocious crimes are going on perpetually because we have subscribed to a feminized approach to criminal justice which the blasphemous am. bar assoc. has promoted and pushed into every courtroom in this benighted land . this rodent should be publically executed in the county where the heinous crime was committed and please don,t tell me this would be no deterrant which is what the larcenous law schools proclaim.the bible warns that it is because sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed that wicked men are embolded to do these atrocious crimes but our duped out populace would rather follow the spiritual slut sr. prejean who taught that jesus wouldn,t swat a mosquitto so lets cry the croodile tears for this kind of vermin and of course hollywood makes a movie of the spiritual sluts crusade and afterall what better way to ruin a country then to have murderers and rapists infesting your parks playgrounds and medium sized cities where the honest citizen must barricade himself in his residence after sunset while the most vile despicable demonic criminals the world has ever seen roam about his streets and neighborhoods!yes it all goes back to the traitors and iscariots on the u.s. supreme court like brennan marshall bryer suter kennedy ginsburg etc. who have sided with the murderers they have blood stained hands for this am. holocost we witness every stink,in day in this land i just want to be there when these judicial judas iscariots get shoved into hell for their treachery hypocrisy and pussillaminity!!

July 24, 2012 at 6:20 am
(14) Chris says:

I cannot believe the amount of girls and young women who are preyed upon by raving lunitics like Hilton. The lady went to hike and just have some relaxation!! Who do these people think they are to dictate whether or not a person lives??!! The young lady deserved to have lived and someday had a family. Now her existing family is left to wonder what she would have been like today, and how her life would have been. My heart and prayers still go out to the family and friends of this young lady.

September 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm
(15) KayTe says:

Agreed that he should be put away. Forever.

But when talking about evil people, don’t call them animals.
Animals do not engage in this kind of behaviour. They kill to survive – not for pleasure and certainly not on a whim.
Only mankind tortures and murders.

March 1, 2013 at 11:47 am
(16) Terri Perry says:

If he had not used a weapon she most likely would have kicked his butt!!! Chicken coward….a male and still had to use weapons against women! No kind of man…no kind of human being. Also….I am not arguing with anyone but I have noticed many people have referred to him as an animal and I take exception to that for this reason…NO non-human animals kill for sport, fun, pleasure, whatever!!! Humans are the only beings on this earth that do that!!! Animals ONLY kill for food or to protect their young or themselves…PERIOD!!! This guy is a MONSTER, a CREATURE, a FREAK, a WASTE OF BREATH but his is NOT an animal…that is an insult to non-human beings everywhere.
I feel so bad for the women who were unfortunate enough to cross his path and their families. Hopefully there is a HELL and he (and others like him) will be sent to the hottest, most torturous, most tormenting part!!!!

July 12, 2013 at 1:33 am
(17) David says:

I agree with all the comments here. Why doesn t the
judicial system just execute these animals immediately.
Don t put them on death row for 10-20yrs where taxpayers
are paying the expenses to keep them alive. The judicial system
makes no sense and seriously needs to be done over with stricter
rules. When a person murders people and you have the evidence
he did it . EXECUTE THE SICK BASTARDS. Quit putting them on
death row for a decade for taxpayers to pay for. The victims didn’t get to
live a extended life,why should these animals?

January 1, 2014 at 6:59 pm
(18) HuiMei says:

We have to fight hard and get the laws changed. It was only recently that I realized so many cold blooded murderers are being released from prison on good behavior.
What happened to paying for a crime like murder? Being released is just wrong!!
An eye for an eye. I agree, the cold blooded murderers need to be executed. Immediately. There is no reason this man should even take another breath.

May 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm
(19) camper says:

I had an encounter with hilton one year before he murdered the bryants, and not too far from the place they were ambushed by him.
in the natl forest camping and I had a .22lr revolver with me. I saw a monster when I layed eyes on him. he meant to jump me I figure – until he saw my revolver. and I’m a good sized fella.
I’ve oftimes thought ‘what if I had capped him there and then’. he already had extensive criminal case. and at least 3 good folks would have lived.

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