UPDATE AND SENTENCE AT BOTTOM OF STORY:

It took a jury a little over four hours to come back with a verdict tonight in the first-degree murder trial of a Sparta woman.

The jury convicted Paula Hall (above,) 42, of second-degree murder for the 2003 golf club beating death of 68 year-old Freda Heyn.

Christian County Prosecutor Ron Cleek said he would have liked to have gotten a first-degree conviction, but says he is, "pleased" with the verdict.

A parade of witnesses were called to the stand yesterday by Cleek and Assistant Prosecutor Donovan Dobbs.

Hometown Radio reports that among them was David Epperson (l.), who was charged with second-degree murder and bound over for trial in connection with Heyn's death.

The murder charge against Epperson was dropped and amended to tampering with evidence in exchange for his testimony against his former lover.

While being questioned by prosecutors, Epperson testified that he returned home from working in Branson around 9:30 p.m. on November 3, 2003, and found Paula Hall folding laundry in his house.
Epperson and Paula Hall had a brief romantic relationship in the fall of 2003.


Epperson told jurors that about ten minutes later Paula Hall's former brother-in-law, Billy Wayne Hall, showed up waving a gun in the air.


He said that Billy Hall poked his head in the door of his trailer and said, "I've got her."
That statement brought both Epperson and Paula Hall outside to the porch where they found an injured Freda Heyn (l.) standing on one side....and Billy Hall pointing a pistol at the great-grandmother.


Epperson said that Paula Hall grabbed a golf club and swung it like a baseball bat......hitting Freda in the back of the head.

Epperson told jurors that it was with that swing of the golf club that Freda Heyn fell face first into the ground....making gurgling noises.

Epperson testified that Paula Hall freaked out and ran inside the trailer to get rags to put around Heyn's bleeding head. Billy Hall started yelling at Paula that they were supposed to scare the old woman, not kill her.

Epperson said that he helped Billy Hall move Heyn's body behind his trailer then went inside with the Hall's to get high on meth.

Modern science is what helped investigators crack this case.......DNA evidence left at Heyn's trailer led cops to Epperson and the Hall's.

Epperson testified that he cut his finger on a piece of glass that Paula Hall placed in a trash bag while he helped her clean Heyn's trailer after the woman's murder.

Epperson claims that he has no idea what happened to Heyn's body after that.

The murder charge against Epperson was dropped and amended to tampering with evidence in exchange for his testimony against Paula Hall.

He was sentenced to four years in prison for his part in Heyn's murder.

Lisa Bonham, who served time in lockup with Hall, was called to the stand to testify. She told the jury that she overheard Hall tell fellow inmates in the Christian County jail that she killed Heyn.

Another witness who also spent time in jail with Hall testified that Hall told them that Mrs. Heyn's skull was taken by horseback or a dirt bike into the Mark Twain National Forest, and that her body had been put into a wood chipper.

Mrs. Heyn's skull was discovered by hikers in the spring of 2004 in the Mark Twain National Forest.......it is the only part of her body that investigators have ever found.

Cleek said that it was several little things that had escalated over the years that were the catalyst for Freda Heyn's death.

Heyn always blamed Paula Hall for her son Harold's stint in prison.....and Paula Hall and Billy Hall were manufacturing methamphetamine and were afraid that Mrs. Heyn would turn them in to cops.

Jurors also heard from Missouri Highway Patrol Investigator Roger Rankin who said investigators found blood splatter on three white chairs in Heyn's kitchen when Heyn first went missing in November of 2003.

Billy Wayne Hall (b.) was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Mrs. Heyn. Those charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.

Billy Hall was also facing federal firearms charges and two drug charges unrelated to Mrs. Heyn's murder.

Hall did some prison time on the drug charges in 2007, but has since been paroled.

However, on January 12, 2009, Billy Hall was again charged with a drug crime. This time, manufacturing a controlled substance (methamphetamine) within 2000 feet of a school.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest on the manufacturing charges and law enforcers are currently searching for Hall, Cleek said.

When asked if he will refile charges against Billy Hall he said, “I may refile it ... based on additional evidence that I found since then, but I cannot fully disclose that because it is an ongoing criminal investigation.”

“This isn’t over,” Cleek told jurors. “We’re doing this one person at a time, and this is where we’re starting.”

Fred Heyn will finally get the chance to ask some questions when Hall is sentenced.....at the top of the list, where are the rest of Freda's remains.

Fred says he will plead with Paula Hall, and the others implicated in the murder of his wife to answer that question.

Fred Heyn says that he would like to see that his wife's remains are all in the same place in the little cemetery where he and his daughter buried what they could of their wife and mother.

Hall could receive anywhere from ten years to life in prison when a judge sentences her on April 3rd.
*****NOTE HALL'S SENTENCING DATE HAS BEEN MOVED TO MAY 22nd.
Hall made the decision to let a judge impose sentencing instead of the jury recommendation in the midst of her trial.

Hall can receive anything from ten years to life in prison when she is sentenced. Life in prison in the state of Missouri is 30 years.
The trial was moved to Taney County on a change of venue.

*****Greg Brock contributed to this story.


UPDATE (02-26-09):

Christian County Prosecutor Ron Cleek has refiled second-degree murder and added kidnapping charges against Billy Wayne Hall, 50, for the November 3,2003, murder and dismemberment of Freda Heyn.

Cleek dropped the original murder charge against Billy Hall because of an evidentiary problem.

He also wanted to obtain additional evidence against Hall that he believes will secure a conviction against the Sparta man.

Freda Heyn was last seen alive at the post office in Oldfield on November 3, 2003.

Hikers found the skull of Mrs. Heyn in the spring of 2004 in the Mark Twain National Forest near Chadwick.

Hall was charged in October 2006 with second-degree murder along with his former sister-in-law, Paula D. Hall, and David D. Epperson after Heyn’s skull was found by hikers in the Mark Twain National Forest near Chadwick.

The break in the case came when blood found in Heyn’s home matched Epperson’s. Epperson had cut his hand while he helped the Hall's clean up Freda's trailer after she had been murdered.

Epperson made a deal with prosecutors and testified against Paula Hall at her first-degree murder trial last month and he is expected to testify against Billy Hall too.

In exchange for his testimony, prosecutors dropped the murder charges against Epperson and replaced it with a charge of tampering with evidence.
The probable cause statement in the refiled case against Hall says that Tommy Petit told investigators that Billy Hall called he and Clint Ward to, “cut up the body and dispose of the body parts.”
It is alleged that Hall provided the men with a hacksaw, box cutter and knife to dismember Mrs. Heyn.

Petit goes on to tell investigators that Billy Hall ordered he and Ward to take their clothes off and burn them.

Another witness, identified in the statement as “D. Dowdy” said “that in 2003, Billy Hall and Dowdy were living together and that Billy Hall came home covered in blood, continually yelling at Paula Hall and telling her that he would never help her again.”

Billy Hall has other problems with the law as well. Cleek filed felony drug charges against the Sparta man in January for manufacturing meth within 2,000 feet of a school that Cleek filed Jan. 16.
Warrants have been issued for Hall's arrest on the newly refiled murder and kidnapping charges, as well as the drug charges and he is on the run from the law.


If you have any information that can help cops nab Billy Hall you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at (417) 869-TIPS (8477) or the Christian County Sheriff's Office at (417) 581-2332. You can remain anonymous.

You can also submit information securely online at http://www.tipsubmit.com/.

A jury convicted Paula Hall of second-degree murder last month (February.) She is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3rd in Christian County.
*****NOTE HALL'S SENTENCING DATE HAS BEEN MOVED TO MAY 22nd.
03-31-09:


Murder suspect Billy Wayne Hall, who has been on the run from cops since January, has been taken into custody and is in the Christian County jail.
Hall, who is charged with second degree murder for the 2003 beating and dismemberment death of Freda Heyn was taken into custody this evening at a home near Branson.

He also faces kidnapping charges related to Heyn's disappearance.

Hall was charged with Heyn's death in 2006, but those charges were dismissed due to an evidentiary matter.

Christian County sheriff, Joey Kyle says that the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, which includes deputies from Christian, Greene, Webster and Taney counties, the Missouri Water Patrol and officers from ATF and ICE took Hall into custody without any problems.
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Sheriff Kyle said, "my biggest fear was the safety of my deputies encountering Billy and possible getting in some kind of situation where somebody could get injured....I don't want anybody to get injured, including Billy."
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Kyle added, "that was probably my greatest fear, that in an attempt to apprehend him somebody would get injured."
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Kyle said he breathed a sigh of relief when he got a simple text message that read....."we got him."
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Inside sources within the investigation into Hall's capture say that several places where Hall was reported to hideout were hit in Christian County before the task force headed to Taney County.
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The task force started surveillance on a trailer in the 200 block of Beaver Road near Table Rock Lake about 5 p. m.....and by 6:30 they had the fugitive in custody.
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Hall was reportedly using a lot of meth in the days leading up to his capture, however, no drugs or weapons were found inside the house that he was hiding in.
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Charges of harboring a fugitive are being considered against a large number of people who allegedly helped Hall elude authorities.
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Christian County prosecutor Ron Cleek re-filed murder charges against Billy Wayne Hall in late February after information came out during the first-degree murder trial of his former sister-in-law, Paula Hall, that implicated him in Heyn's murder.
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In addition to the murder and kidnapping charges, Hall is charged with one felony count of manufacturing a controlled substance (meth) within 2000 feet of a school.
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He is being held on $250,000 bond on the murder and kidnapping charge; $50,000 bond for the manufacturing charge....and a probation violation that will keep him in jail because there is no bond available on that.
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A jury found Paula Hall guilty of second-degree murder in Taney County where the case was moved on a change of venue.
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She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 26th in Christian County.
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UPDATE (04-01-09):
Billy Hall was arraigned in front of Christian County Associate Circuit Judge John Waters this morning.
He was referred to a public defender and is scheduled to appear in court again on April 7th.
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UPDATE (04-07-09):

Hall Pleads Not Guilty In Heyn's Death; Preliminary Hearing Scheduled
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Murder suspect Billy Wayne Hall made his initial court appearance today with his attorney Rita Sanders and pleaded not guilty to killing and kidnapping Freda Heyn.
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He was charged in January with manufacturing a controlled substance (meth) within 2000 feet of a school.Hall, his former sister-in-law, Paula Hall and David Epperson were charged with Heyn's death in 2006 after the woman's skull was found by hikers in the Mark Twain National Forest.
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Christian County Prosecutor Ron Cleek (b.) dropped the murder charges against Billy Hall last year because of lack of evidence; Epperson turned state's evidence and had his charge reduced to tampering with evidence in exchange for his testimony.
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Cleek refiled murder charges against Billy Hall when new evidence surfaced at Paula Hall's February murder trial.
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Cleek says he is, "going to go after Billy Hall as prior and persistent offender....what that means is that if Hall is convicted on the drug charge he will have to serve whatever sentence he receives day for day without the possibility of probation or parole."
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Hall eluded authorities from January until his capture on March 31st by the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force Billy Hall's preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 19th in Christian County.
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Paula Hall was found guilty of Heyn's death and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 22nd in Christian County.
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SENTENCE (05-22-09):
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A woman from Sparta has been sentenced to 20-years in prison for the 2003 golf club beating death of an elderly Oldfield woman.
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A jury found Paula Hall guilty of second-degree murder on February 9th of this year of killing Freda Heyn (b.). Hall had been charged with first-degree murder, but the jury took about five hours to convict her of the lesser crime. Hall's case had been moved to Taney County on a change of venue.
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During today's sentencing in Ozark, defense attorney Rita Sanders said any prison time is like a death sentence for Hall, because the 41 year-old woman suffers from many health problems -- according to Sanders, Hall has heart and cholesterol issues.
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During the victim-witness impact statement portion of today's sentencing, Freda Heyn's husband, Fred Heyn said he believes Paula Hall knows where Freda's remains are... "All I have in the casket are Freda's skull and one bone that was found near the skull... to me that just isn't right... we've had trouble eating, sleeping, and really living going through all of this."
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Heyn was last seen alive at the post office in Oldfield. Prosecutors say that she was abducted from her mobile home by Paula Hall's former brother-in-law, Billy Wayne Hall, and brought to the trailer of David Epperson (b.) which was is approximately a mile-and-a-half away.
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Epperson (a.) testified at his former girlfriends trial that it was outside his house that Paula Hall swung a golf club, "roundhouse style," at Heyn--who hit the woman several more time before she fell face first to the ground.
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Epperson told jurors that Billy Wayne Hall (b.) helped him move Heyn's body to the side of the trailer, then the trio went inside to get high on methamphetamine.
Heyn's skull was found by hikers south of Chadwick in the Mark Twain National Forest in the spring of 2004 -- the rest of her body, which authorities believe was cut up -- has never been found.
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Modern science is what led authorities to the Hall's and Epperson. Epperson's DNA was left in Heyn's trailer when he cut his hand on a piece of glass as he helped Paula and Billy Hall clean the 68 year-old woman's trailer.
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Sanders, who represented Paula Hall pro bono (free) says that, "I've lost faith in the jury system after this verdict....if not for her dating David Epperson, we might not be standing here."
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Epperson had been charged with second-degree murder in Heyn's death but was offered a deal by prosecutors in exchange for his testimony. He got five years probation for his testimony.
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Christian County Prosecutor Ron Cleek says (a.), "we believe in a justice system in this country and I believe it worked in this case."
Freda Heyn's grandson, who asked not to be identified by name, says that "a person who steals can get ten years, but a person who murders someone gets twenty....it's just not fair.
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Charges against Billy Wayne Hall were dropped last year because of lack of evidence, however, after hearing new evidence during the Paula Hall's trial Cleek filed new murder charges against him.....this time adding kidnapping.
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Billy Hall had been on the lam for a couple of weeks after being newly charged in Heyn's death......authorities eventually captured him at a friends house in Taney County.
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Sanders is representing Billy Hall in his murder case....this time his mother is helping to pay for his defense. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 19th.
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It will be at least seventeen years before Hall becomes eligible for parole.
Sanders says that She will file an appeal in Paula Hall's case.
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****Greg Brock contributed to this story

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https://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet/cases/searchCases.do
06N8-CR02275-02 - ST VS PAULA D HALL

UPDATED - Thursday, June 9, 2011

Judge Overturns Paula Hall's Conviction In Heyn's Murder; Murder Charges Against Billy Wayne Hall Dismissed

Paula Hall (mug shot MODOC)

The 2009 murder conviction of a woman from Sparta has been overturned.
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Judge John Moody sided with attorney Rita Sanders in an appeal she filed saying prosecutors failed to provide all of their discovery against her client, Paula Hall.
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A Taney County jury convicted Hall, 43, in February of 2009 for the 2003 murder of sixty eight year-old Freda Heyn.  Hall was sentenced to twenty years.
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Freda Heyn (family photo)

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Heyn was last seen alive at the post office in Oldfield on November 7, 2003. Prosecutors say Mrs. Heyn was abducted from her mobile home by Paula Hall's former brother-in-law, Billy Wayne Hall, and brought to the trailer of her boyfriend David Epperson because they believed Heyn was going to snitch on them for cooking methamphetamine.
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David Epperson (mug shot CCSO)
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Epperson testified at his former girlfriends trial that it was outside his house that Paula Hall swung a golf club, "roundhouse style," at Heyn - who fell face first to the ground.
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Epperson told jurors that Billy Wayne Hall helped him move Heyn's body to the side of the trailer, then the trio went inside to get high on methamphetamine.
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Heyn's skull was found by hikers south of Chadwick in the Mark Twain National Forest in the spring of 2004 -- the rest of her body, which authorities believe was cut up, has never been found.
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Modern science is what led authorities to the Hall's and Epperson. Epperson's DNA was left in Heyn's trailer when he cut his hand on a piece of glass as he allegedly helped Paula and Billy Wayne Hall clean the 68 year-old woman's trailer.
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Epperson had been charged with second-degree murder for Heyn's death, but was offered a deal by prosecutors in exchange for his testimony. He got five years probation on amended charges of tampering with evidence for his testimony.
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One of the reason's for the case being overturned is Lisa Bonham.  Bonham, who served time in lockup with Hall, testified for the state in Paula Hall's trail. She told the jury she overheard Hall tell fellow inmates in the Christian County jail that she killed Heyn.  Sanders says Hall allowed Bonham to read discovery on her case while in lock-up and Bonahm molded her testimony around what she read, "To keep her butt (Bonham's) out of prison.  She was on a 120 day hold on a probation violation for Christian County and that was not disclosed. If they decide to retry this case, I will destroy Bonham on the stand."
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Another reason Moody cited lies with Tommy Petit.  Sanders says that she was not provided with all the discovery that authorities had regarding Petit.  "I was given one CD of an interview with Petit when there were actually three...and one of the reports we found in post conviction relief was dated February 9, 2009...5 days AFTER Paula was convicted.  Under the Brady rule, they have to disclose everything they have to defense counsel."
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Sanders says that Petit is the one responsible for Heyn's death.  "In some evidence we've found he describes what it felt and smelled like when he cut up Freda's body."  Sanders also says it's possible that a woman with ties to Petit, Debbie Presley, may have helped kill Heyn.  "She told Paula she needed to talk to her about Freda.  Paula told her she was advised by me not to talk to anyone about the case anymore.  Jail staff found Presley hanging in her jail cell that same night."
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"Tommy’s wife gave a written statement saying her husband did it, but I don’t think that statement ever left her hand,” Sander said. “I’m not sure the prosecutor's office even knew about this one."
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Ron Cleek, prsoecutor in Christian County at the time of Hall's conviction, says, "Rita had all of the information on everything and everyone.  I held back nothing.  I know now that there was a Probation Violation on Lisa Bonham later in the year in 2009, but I gave Bonham nothing for her testimony.  And, everything I knew about the people who testified was given over to the Defense.  All of the information I learned about additional witnesses the day before trial was given to Rita.  Nothing was left out and nothing was kept from her.  I highly disagree with the Judge."
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Billy Wayne Hall (mug shot CCSO)
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Murder charges connected to Heyn's death filed against Billy Wayne Hall, who has been in and out of prison several times over the last few years, were dismissed without prejudice today (06-09-11) so investigators can continue to gather potential evidence.
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Christian County chief assistant prosecutor Donovan Dobbs says,  "We only get one shot.....we want to make sure it's a good one if we proceed to trial."
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Dobbs says his office "respectfully disagrees" with Judge Moody's ruling.  "The decision becomes final in 30 days then we have 10 days to file an appeal to the ruling."  The appeals court will decide if the conviction stands or if Hall gets a new trial. Or, tthe Christian County prosecutors office could decide not to appeal Judge Moody's decision and the overturned conviction will stand.
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Cleek believes an appeal is the right course of action.
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“I feel strongly that Paula committed this crime or I would not have tried the case,” he said. “It’s not my decision now to appeal and I don’t know what she (Fite) will do. I know to take it up on appeal would be the right thing. The Heyn family has suffered a great deal already. We did a good job with this case and I disagree with what the judge has done.”
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Sanders, who is representing Paula Hall pro bono, said at the time of Hall's sentencing, "I've lost faith in the jury system after this verdict....if not for her dating David Epperson, we might not be standing here."
Her faith in the justice system was restored with Moody's ruling,  "I know Paula's innocent and I will never stop fighting for her."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thank you for your blog. Having all information compiled in one place is definitely appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this being reported. Freda was a very good friend of mine. She was at one time my daughters Motherinlaw and she was a beautiful caring lady. No-one should have had to go through all the torture it seems she had to go through. I pray for my grand-kids as it is hard for them to know their Grandma had to die in such a horible needless matter. Freda loved the Lord very much. I lost my daughter a short while back and I pray her and Freda are together as they were once down here on this earth. Bless you Freda. You were a true friend and i will always miss you and will always LOVE you.

Jeff IsAGinger said...

Do you happen to have a photo of Tommy Pettit?

Kathee Baird said...

@ JeffIsAGinger....there is one here: http://crimesceneinvestigations.blogspot.com/2013/10/murder-meth-and-chaos-judge-takes-paula.html

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