Man convicted of 2011 home invasionPublished 8:55pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Eric Dewayne Hall of Bainbridge was sentenced to 100 years in prison Monday afternoon after he pled guilty to invading an elderly couple’s home in February 2011.
A jury had been chosen Monday morning for Hall’s trial on robbery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and burglary, but before his trial could begin after lunch, Hall pled guilty at the mercy of the court, District Attorney Joe Mulholland said.
The home invasion happened around 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2011 at the home of Paul and Mary Jean Harrell on the 600 block of Broughton Street.
Hall knocked on the home’s door and was allowed inside the entryway after he said he was interested in buying a car parked outside. However, he then demanded their valuables and pushed them down onto the floor. Hall got away with Mrs. Harrell’s purse, which contained a small amount of money, and her cell phone.
Mrs. Harrell, 78, broke one of her hips in the attack; she later passed away in September 2011. Hall beat up Mr. Harrell and choked Mrs. Harrell, threatening to kill her, Mulholland said. Mr. Harrell is now living in a nursing home.
“I don’t think either one recovered from the attack,” Mulholland said. “I got to know Mrs. Harrell personally in the months after and she told me that although she and her husband were elderly, that she hoped they could be together for several more years.”
“[Hall's] actions caused them to be apart,” the district attorney said. “He attacked defenseless, elderly people who treated everyone they knew with dignity and respect.”
Mulholland said Judge Kevin Chason’s sentencing of Hall to 100 years in prison, to be served consecutively, was one of the most satisfying courtroom results he has experienced in 12 years of work in the South Georgia District Attorney’s Office.
“The nature of this crime, as well as Hall’s extensive criminal history, gave no reason to offer him any sympathy,” Mulholland said.
“This case greatly impacted the community. Seeing justice in this case I believe was paramount to helping the community feel safe again. After putting my heart and soul into this case, getting this conviction re-affirms my faith in the justice system and makes me feel safe again. [Bainbridge] is still a small town, it’s not like in Atlanta or Albany, where these kind of cases happen all the time.”
“This sentencing sends a strong message that we won’t stand for such brazen attacks here, that this is going to continue to be a safe place to raise kids and retire in.”
With those goals in mind, Mulholland and local law enforcement had “poured their heart and soul” into the case, he said. The district attorney conducted a videotaped deposition from Mrs. Harrell as she laid in her hospital bed, after the two had discussed the pending court case.
Bainbridge Public Safety also obtained a wiretap on Mrs. Harrell’s stolen cell phone, which broke open the case when one of Hall’s girlfriends answered it. Mulholland said it was the first time a wiretap had been used in a non-federal case in Decatur County.
“Definitely, coming to this point, all area law enforcement, including Public Safety, the Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation all worked very closely together to identify and locate the suspect,” the district attorney said.
Superior Court Judge Kevin Chason presided over Hall’s case and rendered his sentence on Monday.
Please see also: