Lynell Hill, 24, is an aspiring model and performer whose modeling profile touts his "astonishing work ethic" and ability to "push through all adversity that comes his way."
Now Hill, his brother and another man, are accused of killing of five people at Fero's Bar and Grill in Denver and then setting the bar on fire to destroy evidence.
Lynell Hill and his 27-year-old brother, Joseph Hill appeared in Denver court Friday, where a judge told them they're being held on investigation of first-degree murder, felony murder, aggravated robbery and first-degree arson. The men have not been formally charged.
The Hill brothers and their co-defendant, Dexter Lewis, 22, are being held without bond at the downtown Denver jail.
The older brother, Joseph Hill, calls himself a singer-songwriter on his Facebook page. He worked nights as a hotel front desk manager.
Robert Rice, the owner of the Top Notch Talent agency, where Lynell Hill is the agency director, told 7NEWS outside the courtroom he was stunned by his colleague's arrest.
"I cannot imagine him doing something like this," Rice said.
Rice said he met Lynell Hill two years ago through the website "Model Mayhem." Lynell Hill began working for Top Notch Talent when Rice started the business last December.
At Top Notch Talent, Lynell Hill's duties included, “Going through craigslist to find who was looking for models for an event," Rice said.
Lynell Hill, who models under his middle name, Jonathan, says on his profile at the Model Mayhem website: "Jonathan Hill is a man of many talents: singer, dancer, writer, actor, model, comedian. What makes him stand out from the rest is his astonishing work ethic and the mind set to never take no for an answer and push through all adversity that comes his way."
Rice told 7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost that the Hill brothers' family asked him to be in court Friday because they live out of state and couldn’t attend. The brothers are from Detroit.
Rice said Lynell Hill, who wasn't making a lot of money at the start-up modeling agency, worked nights as a security guard for a high-rise apartment building.
Lynell Hill was also having difficulty paying restitution for a 2011 harassment conviction in Arapahoe County, Rice said.
In court Friday, the Hill brothers were led in for separate hearings, each wearing red jail suits and shackles. Security was high as three deputies escorted each man.
Lynell Hill's defense attorneys filed motions asking County Judge James Breese to unseal the arrest affidavit.
Veteran criminal defense attorney Darren Cantor said he knew of no law allowing prosecutors and police to deny the defense the police affidavit supporting Lynell Hill's arrest, especially now that he is in jail.
"The problem is this: It preserves a tactical advantage for the government," Cantor said. "We cannot possibly be effective if we do not know what the evidence is against my client."
They also asked him to let them examine the crime scene for evidence before the property is released to the owners.
Breese denied the motions for now, but advised the defense to contact the District Attorney's Office to see if they can reach an agreement on obtaining the arrest affidavit.