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Porn actor's cliff death under investigation

A porn actor who allegedly killed a colleague with a sword was in a police standoff near a West Hills home Saturday.

June 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The LAPD is investigating the events leading up to the death of an adult-film actor who apparently jumped to his death during a SWAT standoff.Stephen Hill was suspected of killing a colleague with a sword and injuring two others Wednesday at Ultima DVD Inc.'s distribution and production center in Van Nuys.

Police found Hill holed up in a home on the 8800 block of Azul Drive in West Hills Saturday. Hill reportedly climbed a hillside near the house and threatened suicide.

Later in the day, Hill was standing at the edge of a nearby cliff, and a nine-hour standoff between the actor and police ensued. During the lengthy standoff, Hill threatened to kill himself with a sword he was holding against his torso or by jumping over the edge.

At around 5:30 p.m., police attempted to end the standoff, surrounding the suspect near the edge of the cliff. Hill turned around and attempted to jump.

Police say they used "non-lethal" means to try to subdue Hill when it became clear that he intended to take his own life.

Hill fell approximately 40 to 50 feet, striking the cliff face several times before sliding to a stop. Paramedics immediately treated him and he was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Eyewitness News asked a law enforcement expert if police followed proper procedure in dealing with Hill.

"From what I saw, they did everything possible to get a peaceful resolution. The individual was not going for it and the officers had to take action," said former law enforcement officer Richard Lichten. "It looked like to me the officers used the appropriate level of force for the situation."

The actor was charged Friday with murder and attempted murder. Ultima DVD Inc.'s Eric Jover offered a $2,000 reward on the company's website for information leading to the arrest of Hill.

Hill appeared in some Ultima films and is credited with having appeared in 13 adult films and went by the stage name "Steve Driver." He had also worked on Ultima film's website, according to police.

According to several reports, Hill has had a history of violence. In 1998, he attended the University of Maryland, where he was arrested for threatening a teaching assistant with a gun in order to get an "A" on a test.

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