In April 1825, the Decatur left Baltimore for New Orleans carrying 33 enslaved people being sold south. En route, William Hill and other enslaved men overtook Captain Galloway and his mate, throwing them overboard.
The Decatur then sailed for Saint Domingue (present-day Haiti) and the promise of freedom. However, the untrained sailors had trouble navigating the ship. The Constellation, passing nearby, rendered aid, removing the women and children from the ship. The next day, another ship, the Rook, removed the remaining men from the ship and brought them to New York.
At trial in U.S. Circuit Court in New York on November 17, 1826, Hill was the only one of the eight men to be convicted. He was sentenced to death on November 20 and hanged on Ellis Island on December 15, 1826.