Hall gets convicted for escape

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Johnny Hall

Johnny Hall

A man charged in 2012 with escaping MDOC custody while attending his father’s funeral was found guilty of two of three charges during Monday’s 15th Circuit Court hearing.

Hall faced three charges as a result of his escape on Feb. 3, 2012; escape, felony fleeing and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said.

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Hall, then 30-years-old, was at a Picayune funeral home on Feb. 3, of that year, while attending his father’s wake when he was able to escape with help from an accomplice, Mary Virginia Rhea, according to a previous story in the Item.

Hall was later apprehended in the Walkaih community on Feb. 8, of that same year, the story states. Assistant District Attorney Clay Cranford said while Hall was free he was involved in an armed robbery in Texarkana, Ark. that he will face charges on once his charges in this county have been adjudicated.

It took about an hour for a jury of his peers to find him guilty of the charges of armed robbery and felony fleeing after Monday’s trial, said Circuit Clerk Vickie Hariel.

Tucker said the jury hung on the third charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. A new trial date for that charge will be sought in an upcoming court session, Cranford said.

Sentencing for the guilty verdicts will take place today, of which he faces up to five years for each charge, Cranford said. The District Attorney’s office will request the judge sentence Hall to the maximum term on both convictions and have them served day for day and back-to-back, for a total of ten years, 15th District Attorney Hal Kittrell said.

“We can not tolerate people escaping from custody. We prosecuted this to the maximum. We will pursue everyday of that maximum term of up to ten years,” said Kittrell.

According to a previous story in the Item, sheriff’s department deputies captured Hall on Feb. 8, 2012, with help from a community tip. Due to the tip, Hall was seen traveling along Miss. 43 N., and a chase ensued that involved speeds of 100 miles per hour. Hall later turned onto Highway 26 heading towards Bogalusa, the story states. A roadblock was set up by the Bogalusa Police Department on Highway 26, which Hall crashed into a ditch to avoid. Hall then fled on foot into the woods, but was taken into custody by a Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department deputy, the previous story states.

Hall’s accomplice, Rhea, was also taken into custody during the chase. Kittrell said she later pleaded guilty to the charge of aiding prisoner escape on Dec. 10, 2012, and was ultimately given a year and six months of house arrest, according to the MDOC’s website. While on house arrest, Rhea was transferred to Lounds County, where her house arrest was revoked due to a subsequent charge, Kittrell said. She is now under MDOC custody. The MDOC website does not state what subsequent charge revoked her house arrest.