TERRE HAUTE, Indiana – The eighth federal prisoner sentenced to death this year after nearly two decades in prison has been executed for kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old Texas girl before pouring gasoline on her and burying her alive.
Orlando Hall, 49, was pronounced dead at 11:47 p.m. ET after receiving a lethal injection at a federal prison complex in Terre Hout, Indiana. In his closing remarks, Hall invited others to Islam, thanked those who supported him, and tried to reassure them by saying, “I’m fine.” After reading a statement describing his crimes, Hall took advantage. from the last opportunity to look for his supporters and say: “Beware. Tell my children that I love them. “
The execution came late at night after the Supreme Court denied last-minute legal disputes by Hall̵
While the medicine was being administered, Hall looked up, seemed to shiver for a moment, and shuddered. He seemed to murmur and opened his mouth wide twice, as if yawning. Each time, this was followed by short, seemingly difficult breaths. He then stopped breathing, and soon after, a stethoscope officer entered the execution chamber to check for a heartbeat before Hall was officially pronounced dead.
Before the Trump administration resumed federal executions this year, only three federal prisoners had been executed in the previous 56 years. Two other executions are planned for later this year – although a judge said Thursday that one could not be carried out before the end of the year – and President-elect Joe Biden did not say whether federal executions would continue when he enters Position.
Hall was among five men convicted of the 1994 abduction and death of Lisa Renee.
Federal court documents say Hall is a marijuana dealer in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who sometimes buys his drugs in the Dallas area. He arrived in Dallas on September 24, 1994, met two men in a car wash and gave them $ 4,700 with the expectation that they would return later with marijuana. The two men were Renee’s brothers.
Instead, the men claimed their car and the money was stolen in a robbery. Hall and accomplices decided they were lying and were able to find the address of the brothers’ apartment in Arlington, Texas.
When Hall and three other men arrived at the apartment, the brothers were not there. Lisa Renee was home alone.
“She was studying for a test and there were textbooks on the couch when these boys knocked on the front door,” said retired Arlington detective John Stanton Sr.
In a statement issued by prison officials, her older sister, Pearl Rene, said the execution “marks the end of a very long and painful head in our lives.”
“My family and I are very relieved that it’s over. We have been doing this for 26 years and now we have to go through the tragic nightmare that our beloved Lisa went through, ”she said. “Ending this painful process will be a major goal for our family. This is only the end of the legal consequences. The execution of Orlando Hall will never stop the suffering we continue to endure. “
Court records offer a chilling account of the terror her sister has faced.
“They’re trying to break down my door!” Hurry up! “The victim told a 911 dispatcher. A few seconds later, a muffled scream was heard from a man who said,” Who are you on the phone with? “Then the line stopped.
Stanton said the men smashed a sliding glass door to get inside and immediately took off with Renee. Police arrived within minutes, but the men and Renee were already gone, Stanton said, still shaking at the near lack of thwarting the crime at the beginning.
“This is something I will never forget,” Stanton said. “This one was especially disgusting.”
The men went to a motel in Pine Bluff. Over the next two days, Rene was repeatedly raped while driving in the motel.
On September 26, Hall and two other men drove Renee to Bird Lake Natural Area in Pine Bluff, her eyes covered in a mask. They took her to a cemetery they had dug the day before. Hall placed a sheet on Renee’s head, then struck her in the head with a shovel. When she runs with another man and Hall takes turns hitting her with a shovel before she is plugged and dragged to the grave where she was doused in gasoline before dirt is poured over her.
The medical examiner found that Renee was still alive when she was buried and died of suffocation in the grave, where she was found eight days later.
Crossing the Texas-Arkansas line has made the case a federal crime. One of Hall’s accomplices, Bruce Webster, was also sentenced to death, but the sentence was released last year because he was intellectually disabled. Three other men, including Hall’s brother, received lesser sentences in exchange for their cooperation in the case.
Hall’s lawyers say jurors recommending the death penalty were not informed of the serious trauma he suffered as a child, or that he once saved a 3-year-old nephew from drowning by jumping into a motel pool from balcony.
Donna Keo, 67, first met Hall 16 years ago when she and other volunteers from her Catholic church set up a program to provide Christmas presents for children of prisoners at Terre Haute Prison. They corresponded by e-mail until days before his death.
Keo said Hall has two sons, ages 28 and 27, and 13 grandchildren.
Hall turned his life in prison, educating himself and becoming an avid reader, Keo said. She could not understand the value of his execution.
“My faith tells me that all life is precious, and that includes living in the death penalty,” Keo said. “I just don’t see any purpose.”
Hall’s attorney, Marcy Wider, issued a statement after the execution, which said: “Tonight, the federal government took the life of a man who has repented for his role in the death of Lisa Renee for the past quarter of a century -good father, brother, son and a man in honor of her memory. The world was not made a better place because of his death; rather, we are all reduced by our government’s relentless desire to kill and its devaluation of hope and redemption. “
Five of the first six federal executions this year involve white men; the other was a Navajo. Christopher Vialva, who was Black, was sentenced to death on Sept. 24 for the murder of a couple from Iowa who were visiting Texas in 1999.
Critics say the execution of white prisoners was first a political calculation in a country embroiled in racial bias concerns involving the criminal justice system.
A September report based in Washington, DC, of the Death Penalty Information Center said blacks remained overrepresented in death sentences, including federal sentences. The organization’s database shows that 25 out of 55 federal prisoners (46%) are black, while blacks make up only about 13% of the US population.