Tuesday, February 8, 2011

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Media Advisory: Michael Wayne Hall scheduled for execution

AUSTIN—Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott offers the following information about Michael Wayne Hall, who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 15, 2011.

Hall was sentenced to die for the 1998 Tarrant County kidnapping and murder of nineteen-year-old Amy Robinson.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

Hall was angry with his life, so he and his friend Robert Neville decided to kill someone.

On Feb. 15, 1998, Hall and Neville saw 19-year-old Amy Robinson riding her bicycle to a grocery store in Arlington where she worked. The two men offered Robinson a ride and took her to a rural field in Fort Worth.

Hall and Neville got out of the car and walked into the field while Amy waited in the car listening to the radio. At some point, Hall persuaded Amy to get out of the car, and Hall shot her in the back of her leg with his pellet gun. Hall and Neville laughed while Amy cried in pain. Meanwhile, Neville returned to the car and got his .22 caliber rifle and shot Amy in the chest. Hall then shot her in the chest “three or four or six times”with the pellet gun. Amy fell to the ground making loud noises and shaking. Hall stood over her and stared for five to ten minutes, then Neville shot her in the head, killing her.

A few days later, Hall and Neville returned to the scene. Neville fired shots into Amy’s dead body, and Hall took keys and money from her pocket. When Amy’s family and co-workers realized she was missing, a massive search began. More than two weeks later, authorities focused on Hall and Neville. Fearing they would be caught, the two fled the area but were arrested in Eagle Pass on March 3 when they tried to cross the border into Mexico. The authorities found Amy’s body on the day of the arrest.

Neville was executed on February 8, 2006, for the capital murder of Amy Robinson.

PUNISHMENT-RELATED EVIDENCE

At the sentencing phase of his trial, the parties introduced evidence regarding Hall’s level of intelligence. Friends, family members, and some teachers testified that Hall had difficulty in school and had difficulty with simple daily tasks. The State introduced evidence suggesting that Hall was not mentally challenged but was, rather, “lazy,” depressed, and difficult to motivate. For its part, the trial court noted that motions Hall had prepared and filed himself were “well drafted.” Hall had no prior convictions.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

March 24, 1998 – A Tarrant County grand jury indicted Hall for capital murder.

Feb. 17, 2000 – After a trial in the 371st District Court of Tarrant County, the jury found Hall guilty of capital murder.

Feb. 23, 2000 – After a punishment hearing, the court sentenced Hall to death.

Jan. 16, 2002 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Hall’s conviction and sentence.

Jan. 17, 2002 – Hall filed an application for state habeas corpus relief.

March 13, 2002 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Hall’s request for a rehearing.

Oct. 7, 2002 – After Hall appealed to the United States Supreme Court, the court vacated the judgment and remanded the case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for further consideration in light of Atkins v. Virginia, which barred the death penalty for the mentally retarded.

Dec. 3, 2002 – In state habeas corpus proceedings, after taking affidavit evidence regarding Hall’s claim of retardation, the convicting court, sitting as habeas court, recommended that Hall’s claim be denied.

Feb. 26, 2003 – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals adopted the lower court’s recommendation and denied Hall’s application for relief.

May 5, 2004 – In connection with the appeal on remand from the Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, taking notice of the retardation-related evidence developed at trial and in state habeas corpus proceedings, again affirmed the judgment.

June 20, 2006 – Alleging that he was mentally retarded and thus exempt from the death penalty, Hall filed a petition for federal habeas corpus relief.

Aug. 3, 2006 – A Fort Worth U.S. district court denied Hall’s petition for habeas corpus relief.

June 30, 2008 – The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated the judgment of the lower court and remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Hall was mentally retarded.

March 9, 2009 – After conducting a live hearing to determine whether Hall carried his burden of showing that he was mentally retarded, the U.S. district court determined that Hall had not carried his burden and denied relief.

Feb. 22, 2010 – The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied Hall permission to appeal.

April 4, 2010 – The Fifth Circuit court denied Hall’s petition for a hearing by the full court.

Oct. 18, 2010 – The United State Supreme Court denied Hall’s petition for certiorari review.

Dec. 13, 2010 – Asking the court to reconsider its decision, Hall asked the Fifth Circuit court to recall its mandate.

Jan. 18, 2011 – The Fifth Circuit court denied Hall’s motion to recall its mandate.

MISCELLANEOUS

For additional information and statistics, please go to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, www.tdcj.state.tx.us.