Friday, October 23, 2009

Daytona Beach Jury finds Enoch Hall Guilty

After less than 3 hours of deliberations a Daytona Beach, Florida jury found FDOC inmate Enoch Hall guilty of first degree, premeditated murder in the death of FDOC Officer, Donna Fitzgerald.

The defense did not deny that Hall killed Fitzgerald on June 25, 2008. Instead they argued that it was a spur of the moment decision made by Hall who really did not intend to kill Fitzgerald. They alleged that Hall had been taking pills all day and staying high and when the other inmates were returned to their housing areas, Hall stayed behind to look for more pills.

The jury apparently disagreed, finding that when approached by Fitzgerald, Hall was holding a homemade knife and attacked, stabbing her approximately 22 times - four of those stab wounds were to her back after she had stopped fighting for her life and lay motionless on the cold concrete of the shed used by PRIDE Enterprises' as a vocational training facility.

Hall was assigned to work for PRIDE at Tomoka CI because of his ability as a welder. Over the few years Hall worked for them, he received at least four Disciplinary Reports (DR's). One charge was for assault of another inmate and a second was for "gunning" or masturbating in front of a female staff member. When an inmate works for PRIDE and receives a DR, they lose their job and must be reassigned. This is both PRIDE and FDOC's policies. In addition Hall was serving two life sentences. I and others had continuously raised the issue of PRIDE's using inmates with such sentences, as a dangerous practice, placing officers and inmates alike in danger due to the tools available to inmates in the program. These arguments made directly to the PRIDE Board of Directors in 2006 and in a 2008 Independent Report provided to the FLorida Senate, FDOC, PRIDE, BJA and the Department of Justice. All such requests to halt this practice failed, and Donna Fitzgerald paid the price for the refusal by all concerned to take action to stop such hiring and employment practices.

In Hall's case, Tomoka classification returned Hall to his PRIDE job after each DR because PRIDE managers asked for his re-assignment. In two of the DR's Hall was not made to serve the sentence handed down by the institutional DR hearing officer before being sent back to PRIDE.

Eight command staff personnel at Tomoka CI were demoted one pay grade and transferred to other FDOC facilities following the investigation into the circumstances of Fitzgerald's death. The PRIDE Heavy Equipment Industry Manager, Bruce Hall (no relation) was transferred to sales following the incident, though FDOC requested PRIDE terminate him. PRIDE refused and Hall is purportedly still a PRIDE employee.

Sentencing or penalty phase of the Hall trial begins on Tuesday with the reading of victim impact statements and jury considerations of mitigating and aggravating factors as they decide whether or not to impose the death penalty.

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