Orange County Doc Sentenced for Killing Wife, Staging Murder to Make it Look Like Accidental Fall

Eric Scott Sills and Susann Sills
Eric Scott Sills and Susann Sills Twitter

An Orange County doctor was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on Friday for murdering his wife and staging it to look like she fell down the stairs.

In December 2023, Eric Scott Sills, 58, was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Susann Sills, 45, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Sills Told Cops He Woke Up to Find Susan Dead at the Foot of The Stairs

On Nov. 13, 2016, Eric called 911 and said he awoke to find Susann's lifeless body after she had allegedly fallen down the stairs at their San Clemente home. He said he found her at the foot of the stairs.

Homicide detectives arrived at the scene where Susann was pronounced dead. The Orange County Coroner later determined her death was a homicide. Eric was arrested in 2019.

Susann was Unhappy with Marriage, Texted Eric She 'Wants Out'

During his trial, jurors heard that Susann was unhappy in her marriage and had told her husband via text message that she "wants out," as reported by the O.C. Register.

"She is frustrated, upset, feels trapped and feels like he is killing her," Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker told jurors. "She tells him in these texts, 'You are killing me, don't you see?'"

Prosecutors also alleged Eric may have been upset about a topless photo Susann reportedly posted of herself in a chat room after losing a bet that Donald Trump wouldn't win the Republican nomination for president.

Investigators Found Evidence of a 'Violent Struggle' Before Susann's Death

An autopsy found that Susann Sills had been strangled to death, and detectives testified they found blood stains on the wall and curtains in the couple's daughter's bedroom, where she slept the night she died because of a migraine. A clump of her hair was also found in the room, the district attorney's office said, "indicating that there had been a violent struggle between the couple."

The couple's son also told investigators he was woken up the morning of Susann's death to the sound of his parents arguing in another room.

"Mr. Sills not only killed his wife but he went one step further and tried to cover up his horrific crime," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement announcing the sentence. "His actions have irreparably torn apart his family as his children have to grapple with the immeasurable pain of losing their mother at the hands of their father. This was the ultimate betrayal by their father and now he will spend his remaining days in state prison."