Man who kidnapped, raped, buried Texas teen alive is executed

Orlando Hall, convicted in the abduction and death of Lisa Rene in 1994, was the eighth federal inmate executed this year after a two-decade hiatus.

11/20/2020 10:45:00 AM

Man convicted of kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old Texas girl before dousing her with gasoline and burying her alive was executed Thursday, the 8th federal inmate put to death this year after a nearly two-decade hiatus.

Orlando Hall, convicted in the abduction and death of Lisa Rene in 1994, was the eighth federal inmate executed this year after a two-decade hiatus.

Michael Conroy / APNov. 20, 2020, 6:40 AM UTCByThe Associated PressTERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A man convicted of kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old Texas girl before dousing her with gasoline and burying her alive was executed Thursday, the eighth federal inmate put to death this year after a nearly two-decade hiatus.

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Orlando Hall, 49, was pronounced dead at 11:47 p.m. ET after being given a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. In his final words, Hall invited others to Islam, thanked those who supported him and sought to reassure them, saying, “I’m OK.” After a statement was read recounting his crimes, Hall took one last opportunity to look to his supporters and say: “Take care of yourselves. Tell my kids I love them.”

The late-night execution came after the Supreme Court denied last-minute legal challenges from Hall’s attorneys, who had argued that racial bias played a role in his sentencing and had also raised concerns about the execution protocol and other constitutional issues.

As the drug was administered, Hall lifted his head, appeared to wince briefly and twitched his feet. He appeared to mumble to himself and twice he opened his mouth wide, as if he was yawning. Each time that was followed by short, seemingly labored breaths. He then stopped breathing and soon after, an official with a stethoscope came into the execution chamber to check for a heartbeat before Hall was officially declared dead.

Before the Trump administrationresumed federal executionsthis year, only three federal inmates had been executed in the previous 56 years. Two other executions are scheduled for later this year — though a judge on Thursday said one of them could not be carried out before the end of the year — and president-elect Joe Biden has not said if federal executions will continue when he takes office.

Hall was among five men convicted in the abduction and death of Lisa Rene in 1994.Federal court documents said Hall was a marijuana trafficker in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who would sometimes buy his drugs in the Dallas area. He arrived in Dallas on Sept. 24, 1994, met two men at a car wash and gave them $4,700 with the expectation they would return later with the marijuana. The two men were Rene’s brothers.

Instead, the men claimed their car and the money were stolen in a robbery. Hall and accomplices figured they were lying and were able to track down the address of the brothers’ apartment in Arlington, Texas.When Hall and three other men arrived at the apartment, the brothers weren’t there. Lisa Rene was home, alone.

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“She was studying for a test and had her textbooks on the couch when these guys came knocking on the front door,” retired Arlington detective John Stanton Sr. said.In a statement released by prison officials, her older sister, Pearl Rene, said the execution “marks the end of a very long and painful chapter in our lives.”

“My family and I are very relieved that this is over. We have been dealing with this for 26 years and now we’re having to relive 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 aftermath. 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 faced.“They’re trying to break down my door! Hurry up!” the victim told a 911 dispatcher. A muffled scream was heard seconds later, with a man saying, “Who you on the phone with?” The line then went dead.

Stanton said the men smashed a sliding glass door to get inside and immediately took off with Rene. Police arrived within minutes but the men, and Rene, were already gone, said Stanton, still wincing at the near-miss of thwarting the crime at its onset.

“It was one that I won’t ever forget,” Stanton said. “This one was particularly heinous.”The men drove to a motel in Pine Bluff. Rene was repeatedly sexually assaulted during the drive and at the motel over the next two days.On Sept. 26, Hall and two other men drove Rene to Byrd Lake Natural Area in Pine Bluff, her eyes covered by a mask. They led her to a gravesite they had dug a day earlier. Hall placed a sheet over Rene’s head then hit her in the head with a shovel. When she ran another man and Hall took turns hitting her with the shovel before she was gagged and dragged into the grave, where she was doused in gasoline before dirt was shoveled over her.

A coroner determined that Rene was still alive when she was buried and died of asphyxiation in the grave, where she was found eight days later.Crossing the Texas-Arkansas line made the case a federal crime. One of Hall’s accomplices, Bruce Webster, also was sentenced to death but the sentence

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was vacated last yearbecause he is intellectually disabled. Three other men, including Hall’s brother, received lesser sentences in exchange for their cooperation at trial.Hall’s lawyers contend that jurors who recommend the death penalty weren’t told of the severe trauma he faced as a child or that he once saved a 3-year-old nephew from drowning by leaping into a motel pool from a balcony.

Donna Keogh, 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 inmates at the Terre Haute prison. They corresponded by email until days before his death.

Keogh said Hall had two sons, ages 28 and 27, and 13 grandchildren.Hall turned his life around in prison, educating himself and becoming an avid reader, Keogh said. She couldn’t understand the value in executing him.“My faith tells me that all life is precious and that includes the lives on death row,” Keogh said. “I just don’t see any purpose.”

Hall’s lawyer, Marcy Widder, released a statement after the execution saying: “Tonight, the federal government took the life of a man who spent the last quarter century repenting for his role in the death of Lisa Rene and striving every day to become a better father, brother, son, and human in honor of her memory. The world was not made a better place because of his death; rather, we are all diminished by our government’s ruthless desire to kill, and its devaluing of hope and redemption.”

Five of the first six federal executions this year involved white men; the other was Navajo. Christopher Vialva, who was Black, wasput to deathSept. 24 for killing an Iowa couple who were visiting Texas in 1999.Critics have argued that executing white inmates first was a political calculation in a nation embroiled in racial bias concerns involving the criminal justice system.

ASeptember report Read more: NBC News »

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They didn’t douse him with gasoline and burn him alive so his death was better than his victim. Straight to hell evil Not a minute too soon! POS. KassandraKitson Fine by me Karma If they are going to give the DP, they need to execute quickly bc giving someone 20 years to change and become a totally different person and then kill them really does constitute inhumane treatment. The “justice” system is screwed up.

Good news. Good. Good riddance Good! death penalty isnt enough!! the “peers” should be allowed to publicly stone him first or something worse damn scumbag got off easy Can they dig his ass up and do the process all ove4 again? GOOD The poor child RIP About time some justice has been done for once Only when we are sure [100% plus] go through Americans death row & execute before Jan.20. 2021

Someone who's so deprived of humanity that they can do that to another human, esp a physically weaker one, probably doesn't care whether they live or die. Hopefully he experienced some justice from other inmates. I bet everybody cheering this man’s death claims to be a Christian. They got stuck in the old testament. “An eye for an eye.” If killing is not acceptable, killing is not acceptable.

I wish it was cheaper and unnecessary but there are things that require the death penalty I'm glad that he can never hurt someone again. Why did it take so long? If you have undeniable evidence, execution the next day. If as State you allow the death penalty and the individual has been without a doubt proven guilty. Why wait so long. Get it done and over with. The longer they wait the more tax dollars are wasted.

20 years of food, clothes and space wasted Now the world is better I believe in the Death Penalty for extremely brutal murders like this one. Thumbs down My kind of justice. He sounds like the exact person who should be executed. The execution method was probably too nice. I think draghing him behind a car was warranted....lets make it slow and painful like being buried alive

Hmmmmm 🤔 Whether this inhuman felt remorse or not for his heinous crime shouldn't matter. These sociopaths should be allowed to ROT in a cell, alone and without outside communication until they DIE DEATH is only a BLESSING for these animals Let them suffer WITHOUT peace of mind I read the article. I’m glad he was executed. He is a monster.

One of the few headlines that actually made sure to hilight his crimes clearly His death was too kind. He should have been made to suffer 100 times more. Wickedness of Hall Nice trump retirement house I love how you lead with all the heinous details of the crime and then omit he was convicted by an all white jury.

Good riddance He should’ve spent the rest of his life behind bars Yes. Justice for the family. Disgraceful. We should all be ashamed of ourselves. 👋🏻 Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed bombarded a University at Mekelle Tigray and injured and killed 100s of students. Abiy Ahmed is a fascist. Students are equipped with only computers, pen and paper, not artilleries. expect the Nobel Peace Prize committee to take away from the fascist.

i dont sympathize May she rest in Peace and May God have mercy on his soul. GOOD👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 AS SHOULD ANY & ALL WHO COMMIT RAPE Good. Good, he deserves what he got! Glad to hear the feds are finally executing these extremely violent animals Two decades this animal sat he should have been put to 💀 death if they’ve been sentenced to death 💀 get on with it give the family some peace and the victims justice this crime here is disputable outrageous he deserved just what he got took to long coming

Excellent 👍🏻 DEMOCRAT VOTER Pandemic effects Good riddance! POS. Let me guess. There's probably some liberal mad about this. LOL. hell is waiting for him I can't feel sorry for a man who would torture anyone like this. Indiana earning that federal welfare money not sad not happy but he made his bed GOODBYE Maggot got off easy

Good Good The state should not kill its own citizens. Death wasn’t harsh enough for this guy Justice served *trigger warning* KimKardashian helps criminals. He should have called her Slowly I hope *Sentenced to death on the recommendation of an all-white jury. The lawyers said the selection of those jurors displayed racial bias.