FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
July 14, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNITED STATES WILL SEEK THE DEATH PENALTY AGAINST ERIC HALL
Defendant Allegedly Committed Murders Related to Drug Dealing Organization
The United States Attorney’s Office today filed a notice stating that it will seek the death penalty in the prosecution of Eric Hall. Two of Hall’s codefendants, Howard Rice and Raeshio Rice, face a mandatory sentence of life in prison but will not be subject to the death penalty.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “The decision whether to seek the death penalty for a defendant accused of murder is made by the Attorney General of the United States after carefully considering the defendant’s background and the circumstances of the crime.”
Hall was indicted on February 2, 2005, along with 12 other defendants. He is charged with committing murders and operating a racketeering enterprise responsible for the distribution of large quantities of cocaine and heroin in northwest Baltimore City.
The indictment alleges that Hall carried out acts of violence on behalf of the drug organization, including the murder of Dante Green on December 16, 1996, the attempted murder of Dennis Smith on December 27, 1996, the attempted murder of Shawn Hawkins on September 1, 2001, and the murder of Marvin Nutter on June 22, 2003.
When a defendant is charged in federal court with a crime potentially subject to the death penalty, the ultimate decision whether to seek the death penalty is made by the Attorney General of the United States. If the Attorney General decides in favor of seeking the death penalty, the United States Attorney files a notice identifying the factors that the government proposes to prove as justifying a sentence of death. The notice filed today specifies the factors that may justify the death penalty for Eric Hall.
The Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office last filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty on December 28, 2004, in the prosecution of Kenneth Jamal Lighty, for the murder of Eric L. Hayes II. Lighty was convicted by a jury that returned a verdict of death on November 10, 2005. The sentence was formally imposed by the judge on February 28, 2006. Lighty’s case is on appeal.
Two other defendants were tried in federal court in Maryland in 2005 in cases for which death penalty notices were filed, but in which the death sentence was not imposed. On February 3, 2005, in a case tried to the judge without a jury, Cornell Winfrei McClure was convicted of murdering Tessa Mae Osborne on May 1, 2001. McClure was sentenced to serve life in prison on May 16, 2005. On November 10, 2005, James Allen Irby III was convicted for the March 28, 2003 murder of Terrence Deadwyler, an informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Irby was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced on February 13, 2006, to serve 38 years in prison.
One other defendant has been sentenced to death in federal court in Maryland since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988. On October 6, 2000, Dustin John Higgs received a death sentence for the murders of Tamika Black, Tanji Jackson and Mishann Chinn on January 27, 1996. Higgs’s conviction was affirmed on appeal. He remains in federal custody.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. A person charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
This page last modifiedJuly 14, 2006