Kenton Deshaun Hall, 49, has entered a plea of not guilty to one count malice murder, one count felony murder, two counts aggravated assault and one count kidnapping.
Hall, currently being held at the Stephens County Jail, was escorted into the courtroom yesterday, Feb. 5, for his arraignment hearing in Stephens County Superior Court before Chief Judge B. Chan Caudell. Hall entered a plea of not guilty to all charges relating to the alleged September 2019 knife attack on Robert Maxwell, 64, and Nancy Johnson, 66, and the subsequent alleged abduction and stabbing death of his wife, Patricia Diane Hall, 49.
Patricia Hall had sought shelter with Maxwell and Johnson following an argument with Kenton Hall, according to investigation statements. Kenton Hall located his wife at the residence of Maxwell and Johnson, and attacked Maxwell and Johnson with a knife and abducted his wife.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agents and law enforcement officers from the Toccoa Police Department and Stephens County Sheriff's Office searched through the night of Sept. 23, 2019 for both Kenton and Patricia Hall, utilizing search dogs and a heat-seeking helicopter. The body of Patricia Hall was found just after daybreak on Sept. 4 near the 300 block of Franklin Street, in a heavily wooded area.
Following a tip from a citizen who had seen an individual matching Hall's description, officers responded to an abandoned factory in Toccoa, where Hall brandished a knife at officers. Officers fired two rounds, one of which struck Hall, investigation reports state.
Hall was indicted by the 2020 Stephens County Grand Jury on Jan. 6. He will return to court on March 10 for a motion hearing, and on April 14 for Calendar Call. ConnectLocal.News will continue to monitor this story and provide updates as available.
Murder convictions in Georgia:
(a) A person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being.'
(b) Express malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take the life of another human being which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. Malice shall be implied where no considerable provocation appears and where all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart.
(c) A person commits the offense of murder when, in the commission of a felony, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice.
(d) A person commits the offense of murder in the second degree when, in the commission of cruelty to children in the second degree, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice.
(e) (1) A person convicted of the offense of murder shall be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, or by imprisonment for life.
(2) A person convicted of the offense of murder in the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 30 years.
The crimes listed below are those enumerated in state law as making a defendant eligible for the death penalty. (Georgia: GA Code § 17-10-30)
(1) The offense of murder, rape, armed robbery, or kidnapping was committed by a person with a prior record of conviction for a capital felony;
(2) The offense of murder, rape, armed robbery, or kidnapping was committed while the offender was engaged in the commission of another capital felony or aggravated battery, or the offense of murder was committed while the offender was engaged in the commission of burglary or arson in the first degree;
(3) The offender, by his act of murder, armed robbery, or kidnapping, knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person in a public place by means of a weapon or device which would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person;
(4) The offender committed the offense of murder for himself or another, for the purpose of receiving money or any other thing of monetary value;
(5) The murder of a judicial officer, former judicial officer, district attorney or solicitor-general, or former district attorney, solicitor, or solicitor-general was committed during or because of the exercise of his or her official duties;
(6) The offender caused or directed another to commit murder or committed murder as an agent or employee of another person;
(7) The offense of murder, rape, armed robbery, or kidnapping was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind, or an aggravated battery to the victim;
(8) The offense of murder was committed against any peace officer, corrections employee, or firefighter while engaged in the performance of his official duties;
(9) The offense of murder was committed by a person in, or who has escaped from, the lawful custody of a peace officer or place of lawful confinement;
(10) The murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or custody in a place of lawful confinement, of himself or another; or
(11) The offense of murder, rape, or kidnapping was committed by a person previously convicted of rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, or aggravated sexual battery.