NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Devaunte Hill will spend more than two decades behind bars after being convicted of shooting and killing Nashville nurse Caitlyn Kaufman on Interstate 440 in December 2020.
Kaufman was on her way to work as an ICU nurse at Ascension Saint Thomas West when she was shot while driving on I-440. She is believed to have died within minutes of the shooting.
The 26-year-old’s body was found inside her SUV, with the vehicle still running and her foot on the brake, two hours later by a Metro Parks employee.
A tip from a citizen led to the arrest of 23-year-old Hill just over a week after Kaufman’s death, as well as the arrest of Hill’s 30-year-old cousin, James Cowan.
More than two years after the deadly shooting, on Jan. 31, Hill was found guilty of second-degree murder while Cowan was found not guilty.
Several people took the stand during Hill’s sentencing hearing on March 3, including Kaufman’s mother, Hill’s sister, and Hill.
At the end of the hearing, Judge Angelita Dalton said she thoroughly addressed enhancing and mitigating factors, giving both sides until March 10 to submit written arguments.
Then, on Wednesday, March 29, the judge issued a written order sentencing Hill to 25 years — the maximum sentence — in the Tennessee Department of Correction’s custody.
That order said Hill’s defense asked the court to consider the following mitigating factors when deciding on sentencing:
- “The defendant, because of youth or old age, lacked substantial judgment in committing the offense;”
- “The defendant, although guilty of the crime, committed the offense under such unusual circumstances that it is unlikely that a sustained intent to violate the law motivated the criminal conduct;”
- “Any other factor consistent with the purpose of this chapter.”
However, officials said the court did not find sufficient evidence to apply any of those factors.
Meanwhile, the prosecution asked the court to apply the following enhancement factors in the case:
- “The Defendant has a previous history of criminal convictions or criminal behavior, in addition to those necessary to establish the appropriate range;”
- “The defendant was a leader in the commission of an offense involving two (2) or more criminal actors; treated or allowed a victim to be treated, with exceptional cruelty during the commission of the offense;”
- “The defendant possessed or employed a firearm … during the commission of the offense;”
- “The defendant was adjudicated to have committed a delinquent act or acts as a juvenile that would have constituted a felony if committed by an adult.”
The court determined at least the second and third enhancement factors listed above applied to Hill’s situation, Wednesday’s order stated.