Fertility doctor convicted of wife’s murder after claiming she fell down stairs

A doctor who tried to stage his wife’s death as an accident has been sentenced to prison for murder

Amelia Neath
Wednesday 20 December 2023 16:24 GMT
Eric Scott Sills (left) was a well-renowed doctor before he was convicted of murdering his wife (right)
Eric Scott Sills (left) was a well-renowed doctor before he was convicted of murdering his wife (right) (Eric Scott Sills/Twitter; Susann Sills/Facebook)

A California fertility doctor has been found guilty of strangling his wife and then telling authorities that she fell down the stairs to her death.

Eric Scott Sills, 58, was convicted of second-degree murder for the fatal strangulation of his wife while in their San Clemente home in November 2016, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said on Tuesday.

The doctor will face a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in a state prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on 15 March.

Officials believe that Sills staged a fatal accident with his wife on 13 November 2016.

He called 911 and said he awoke to find the lifeless body of his wife, Susann Sills, 45, and thought she had fallen down the stairs.

Yet when pathologists were assessing Susann’s body, they found the extent of her injuries did not match her husband’s story.

After an investigation and DNA testing, Sills was arrested in April 2019.

Sills was arrested after coroners found strangualtion evidence on wife’s body (Orange County District Attorney’s Office)

Blood stains were also found on a wall and curtains in their daughter’s bedroom, where Susann was sleeping at the time as she was suffering from a migraine.

A clump of hair was also found in the bedroom, which indicated there had been a “violent struggle” between the couple, the district attorney’s office said.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker said she could not prove a definite motive for Sills to want to kill his wife, but she said there were multiple signs of tension between the pair, such as financial strain and frustration over her relationship with his older children from a previous marriage, The Mercury News reported.

In text messages, the doctor appeared to be “fixated” on a topless photo his wife posted online after losing a bet over whether Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination for president, something that apparently annoyed him, the outlet said.

“Think of how diabolical you have to be – not only to kill your wife but to make it look like she had fallen down the stairs,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in Sills’ conviction announcement.

“It took calculated planning to commit this crime, and worse of all, he ruthlessly and selfishly murdered the mother of their children who now are left without their parents.”

Before his conviction, Sills, who chose not to testify, fervently denied killing his wife.

His attorney relayed a story about how Susann was taking a combination of medications that made her lose her balance that she suffered a spinal injury from the fall that left her unable to breathe, and the strangulation marks came from the family’s two large dogs who were tugging at her scarf while she was unconscious, the local outlet said.

Yet the prosecution found that the scar had no tears or holes where a dog would have bitten into it, and Sills made no mention of dogs in his 911 call, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The couple ran a fertility clinic together in Carlsbad and were living with their twins, who were 12 at the time but are now 19, in a $1m home in San Clemente.

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