Gabriel Hall

A College Station man who stood trial for five weeks was sentenced to death by lethal injection Wednesday for killing a man and trying to kill his wife in 2011.

Many of the jurors cried as Judge Travis Bryan III delivered the sentence. Gabriel Hall showed no emotion.

Bryan called out each juror's name and asked if this was his or her true verdict. Each one said yes and Bryan thanked them for their service.

District Attorney Jarvis Parsons said he felt mixed emotions after the sentence was delivered. He said anyone who is human realizes the magnitude of what happened.

"It's not something you feel joy about, because it's a tragedy on both sides," Parsons said. "We don't take any pleasure in what happened, we just hope it gives some sense of peace to the Shaar family."

Hall was convicted of killing 68-year-old Edwin Shaar by stabbing and shooting him in his garage, and seriously injuring his then 69-year-old wife, Linda, in October 2011.

Linda Shaar and her son were present for closing arguments, but didn't stay for the verdict.

Defense attorneys declined to comment.

Death sentences are automatically sent to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for review.

Attorneys for both sides spent 90 minutes wrapping up almost five weeks of testimony Wednesday. The jury began deliberations at 12:30 p.m. and reached a verdict around 8 p.m.

Parsons led closing arguments for the state by talking about Edwin Shaar's character. He said Shaar was the type of husband and father that every man dreams of being.

He said in Shaar's final moments, he sacrificed himself for his wife. He said if Hall's gun wouldn't have jammed after he shot Edwin Shaar in the forehead, Linda Shaar would have been finished off the same way.

"He looked evil dead in the face and he didn't blink," Parsons said. "That is Commander Edwin Shaar, and that is why we're here."

Edwin Shaar suffered from Parkinson's Disease that would sometimes lock up his legs and prevent him from moving. Linda Shaar got around in a wheelchair because a flesh-eating bacteria took her leg.

Parsons said these are people everyone else in the world opens the door for, but to Gabriel Hall, they're targets.

"They can spend as much time as they want crucifying Karen Hall, but that's not why we're here," Parsons said. "Karen Hall does not mitigate what he did to complete and total strangers."

Karen Hall is Gabriel Hall's adoptive mother. Much of the testimony during the trial focused on Karen Hall's alleged mistreatment of her adopted children.

Defense Attorney Tony Odiorne argued that Hall did not pose a continuing threat to people around him. He said there is no evidence in the four years Hall has been in jail that he has committed a single act of violence.

Odiorne said Hall doesn't have to be told to follow the rules, he doesn't provoke fights and he keeps to himself.

Prosecutors showed pictures of the shank jail guards found in Hall's bed and brought up the razor blades he had stashed under it.

Odiorne said even knowing that, there were still prison guards who testified that Hall was a model, obedient prisoner. He said the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has the ability to manage Hall.

Defense Attorney Andrea Keilen asked jurors to consider all of the evidence brought forth in the punishment phase, and think about whether it had any negative effect on Hall -- from the poverty he lived through in the Philippines, to lack of therapy and alleged verbal abuse by Wes and Karen Hall.

She said she hasn't seen a case with as much mitigation as this one. She also pointed out mental health professionals showed he had a traumatic brain injury -- which she said hadn't been disputed.

Keilen said she was appalled that she knew more about Karen Hall's kids than she did. She said it is because Karen Hall didn't care and was only concerned with her image.

"Look at who's in this courtroom today," Keilen said. "And who's not here today? Two so-called parents. Not here. Basically saying to you, 'We don't care what you do. It doesn't matter to us.'"

Keilen brought up the Bible parable in which the seeds sown on good soil will thrive, but those sown on the rocks will blow away.

She said Gabriel Hall was born among the thistles, constantly choked back by thorns all around him. She said when he moved to the Hall house, the environment was different, but the soil was still dry.

"The worst thing is that he didn't get the sunlight, and the sunlight is the love," Keilen said. "Nothing happens without the sunlight, and the seed can't survive."

First Assistant District Attorney Brian Baker didn't dispute that Hall had a rough life, but he said it wasn't different or unique. He said Karen Hall may not have been the best mother in the world, but that doesn't answer the question of why Gabriel Hall targeted strangers.

He said there are other kids who lived with Wes and Karen Hall, and several with similar backgrounds to Gabriel, but they didn't kill anybody. He said whatever mitigating evidence there might be, it isn't sufficient to explain why Gabriel Hall killed people to whom he had no connection.

"This changed this community forever," Baker said. "This is supposed to be our home and safe, and Gabriel Hall has made sure that I will never ever walk into my house and leave the garage door up."

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(37) comments

Alex Pacek

I worked with his sister for years and she had a good heart. I remember when Mrs. Hall kicked the kids out on the street. She is to blame. The wife of a rich lawyer (aka social financial predator) had nothing better to do than get up every morning and work all day shoving her -40 Days For Life- agenda down other peoples throats and basically collecting children from all over the world to look like a do-gooder. Look where all of that got her. The Halls need to leave this community after all the damage they have done.

BONNIE WINNER

Actually she is the one with the wealth, nothing special about Hall's lawyering or practice.

Mr Tent

Are you simple? Mrs Hall is not to blame, don't be stupid. Gabriel himself decided to do what he did. A lot of kids have difficult times growing up and know better than to murder innocent people for thrills. Gabriel Hall is a homicidal maniac and will get the punishment he deserves.

Nunya Bidness

Finally!

Bic Bradley

Read the testimony in the case about Karen Hall's treatment of her adopted children. She left a trail of broken children behind her and if there's one Christian in this county they should go to those children and help them as much as possible. They were kicked out into the street, literally... for acting like kids. Most of them totally unprepared for life in this country. Some had no high school diploma, no GED, no drivers license and no financial support. Public piety is mostly BS. It's what is done in private that matters. Every person who calls themselves a Christian should be ashamed that Karen and Wes claim to be Christians too. Those are kids with severe problems, not dogs that you kick into the street and change the locks in the middle of the night so they have no where to go.

NANCY WARD

That's right. Makes one wonder about the teachings of Central B Church too.

Mr Tent

Don't be stupid.

MrMark

Im glad they got the call right this time , so many times the guys get off with next to nothing. Congrats to the Jury on this one , I know it was not easy to send a man to face the Almighty .

prairiegirl

I am not against the death penalty. That being said, now that he has been sentenced I plan to pray for Gabriel that he would be taught the message of Jesus Christ and that he would repent of his sins and accept Christ into his heart. He can still receive the gift of eternal life in Heaven. I am going to pray for his soul. I hope others will as well.

BONNIE WINNER

Prairie, you might throw in a prayer for the victims and the family and maybe for the other kids screwed up by this whole Hall affair.

bunnytrouble

While he is definitely guilty and probably deserves the death penalty, this should not have happened. Among the many losers (definitely including the Shaars) are the many children of Karen Hall.

The Halls may have money, a pedigree (she is a Blue Bell heir), education and good jobs, she at least is NOT a good person (and Wes Hall went along with it and allowed it to occur). This family should not have been allowed to adopt all these children. They left horrible situations in foreign countries to come to a horrible place that should have been much better situation for them. There are too many instances of Karen Hall sending her children "away" to "boarding schools" (take a look at what many of these really are or were) for one or two infractions, kicking them out/"asking" them to leave the home and all the constant verbal abuse.

I believe she does not and did not care for her children but more for her image. She was a "collector" of children, a hoarder, not any different than people who collect strays and end up with hundreds that they cannot take care of. While it was not all her fault what and who Gabriel Hall ended up as, she could have changed the tides and I truly believe this horrible murder would not have happened.

A. Nerd

"They left horrible situations in foreign countries to come to a horrible place that should have been much better situation for them. "

You seriously think those kids didn't enjoy a massive upgrade in every aspect of their life the second they moved from a foreign orphanage to a mansion in one of the most highly rated cities in the country? She took in some of the absolute worst behaved kids and gave them a chance to make something of themselves. Not all of them did, but she gave them the opportunity.

A number of people in my life sacrificed a lot of their time and money to give me every opportunity to succeed. Not all of my peers seized that opportunity and some of them are in jail right now. And the absolute last people that can be blamed for their transgressions are the people that helped me get to college. So until you have gone and adopted some of the worst kids from some of the worst orphanages, you don't get to cast judgement on the Halls and the success or failure they have had raising kids that no one else wants.

NANCY WARD

"you don't get to cast judgement" Why? Because you say so.

Bic Bradley

That is not true at all. Those children were not badly behaved until they got to Texas. And even then they didn't do anything worse than what your average teenager would do on a bad day. Read the trial transcript. Every Christian should read the testimony. It will be a public document. Children need love. Without that they have nothing.

BONNIE WINNER

The Halls promoted their image among peers by bringing in poor children while avoiding adoption supervision in this country and then abused the children. Then they unleashed the poorly prepared and angery kids on society while shouting what a good Christians they are. Now the Hall's are exposed of how money can buy image but closer examination often reveals the evil. This case has revealed the "real" Halls are evil and self-serving.

William Johnson

>>
Jarvis Parsons said he felt mixed emotions after the sentence was delivered.
>>

The politician in Parsons comes out. The verdict is a feather in his cap. But probably Hall will never be executed. The appeals process will take 20 years and by then there likely will not be the death penalty in the USA. Meanwhile, it will cost us millions more for the appeals (on top of the nearly $2 million we taxpayers have already spent on both the prosecution and the defense). Had Parsons accepted a life without parole plea bargain this mess would have been finished years ago and the effective result would very likely had been the same. What a waste of our money!

NANCY WARD

And don't forget the feather in Brian's cap too. And I'm sure the mixed emotions were only in front of the camera. Behind the scenes there were probably celebrations all over that court house from top to bottom. The twerp Brian will get a big bonus and career advance out of this and that's what really matters, isn't it?

A. Nerd

OK, even if it takes 20 years to execute Hall, that's still better than paying to incarcerate him for 70 years. Don't forget how young he is. If he was 60 years old, a life sentence is fine. But a murderer in his 20s needs to die.

NANCY WARD

That's right, and the sooner the better. He!!, they should have strung him up last night and saved a boat load of money. Skip all the b$ and get on with the killing.

William Johnson

Each death penalty case in Texas costs taxpayers about $2.3 million. That is about three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40 years. ("Executions Cost Texas Millions," Dallas Morning News, March 8, 1992).

The cost has gone up a lot since that was written.

If the Dallas Morning News is too liberal for you, read this article from Fox:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/03/27/just-cost-death-penalty-killer-state-budgets/

Nunya Bidness

If you believe in the death penalty, you believe that there are some crimes so heinous that the only appropriate penalty is death. Everything else is window dressing. A jury has decided that this crime is, in fact, appropriately heinous. Moreover, they found that Hall will pose a continuing threat to society. You don't like the law, change it. Good luck with that.

William Johnson

The Supreme Court will change it, Sabio, within 20 years.

How can Hall be a continuing threat to society if he is in prison the rest of his life? So what if he kills other lifers? That saves us money. Why don't you recommend that murderers all be given life without parole and supplied with knives in their sealed off prison unit? Wouldn't that satisfy the bloodlusters like you and the fiscal conservatives like me?

aggie1109

You do realize, I presume, that if he had been given a sentence of life without parole he would be in general population and NOT just around other "lifers." But hey, who cares about the safety of inmates, I mean it's not like they have families that care about them or are possibly in jail under a wrongful conviction. And hey, who cares about the guards and prison staff, I mean obviously if Hall got hold of a weapon and felt that "killer instinct" again, he will make sure he only attacks people who are really mean and deserve it, right? He would never attack an innocent person, right?

Nunya Bidness

Here's the logic of FromAfar, he's against the death penalty, unless one inmate kills another.

quillsmom24

[sad]Let Us All Remenber that one SIN IS NO GREATER THAN THE OTHER. We are not the true Judge and neither was the jury or the Judge on this case. It is a sad thing that has happened to both sides of this story. Yes it is in the bible that We should not kill but yet and still they are killing in the justice system. Don't throw ROCKS WHEN YOU LIVE IN A GLASS HOUSE. SO LET'S TRY TO NOT JUDGE HIM AGAIN INSTEAD PRAY FOR HIM CAUSE THIS COULD BE YOUR CHILD ! "LORD I PRAY THAT YOU WILL JUST HEAL BOTH SIDES OF THE FAMILY IN THE CASE THAT HAS HAPPENED AND LORD PLEASE FORGIVE THOSE WHO WANTS TO BE JUDGES WHEN WE ALL KNOW YOU ARE THE TRUE AND ONLY JUDGE. AMEN!"

A. Nerd

When someone kills one of YOUR family members, you will be able to meet with the DA and let him know whether you want him to pursue life in prison or death. Until then, you're just being a hypocrite by telling people not to judge others when you're sitting there judging them yourself.

I will tell you right now that if my kid intentionally kills a frail, innocent man in cold blood, I will act exactly like the Halls. I will not pay for his defense, I will not voluntarily attend court, and if I'm forced to testify I will sit on the victim's side of the courtroom.

Amber Starfield

Old Testament
Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
New Testament
Acts 25:11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.

The Bible clearly commands that murders be put to death.

roy g

quillsmom24, you seem to forget that the imaginary deity who allegedly told the ancient Hebrews not to murder was also the same deity who then commanded them to commit wholesale slaughter and genocide in "His" name.

BONNIE WINNER

When an animal is out of control and a danger, it should be put down. That sums this up.

Amber Starfield

Good work Jury! I hope the court pays you a bonus for dragging this case out for as long as they did. I know most of us will be glad to get a break from all the headlines.

BONNIE WINNER

Hard work by jury and thanks to them. Still more money to be wasted on this animal but at least he is out of society.

RICHARD WOODWARD

It is amazing to me that a jury could look at the sad and tragic history of Gabriel's life and not see that all of that history helped make him the murderer he turned out to be. I attended closing arguments yesterday and, in my opinion, the defense attorneys completely failed to make the connection between Gabriel's childhood and who he became.

A. Nerd

If there is such a direct connection, why hasn't his sister committed murder? Why haven't any of the other kids in the orphanage not committed murder? Why did Hall choose to murder two innocent people instead of the people he was supposedly mad at? There is no connection. He is just a terrible person that earned his death sentence; simple as that.

Nunya Bidness

RichinBCS, just a guess, you don't support the death penalty, do you......

Bic Bradley

The defense attorneys did the very best that anyone could do under the circumstances. So far they haven't saved Gabriel Hall's life, but they have exposed the terrible treatment that these kids received in the Hall "home." These kids were split up and had their siblings disappear in the middle of the night with no idea where they had gone. Now they are in contact with each other and can gather strength from what they have endured in their lives.

If Gabriel Hall had killed the Halls instead of trying to kill the Shaars he may very well have just gotten life.

BONNIE WINNER

They took nice trips and lined their pockets with taxpayer money.

John Jacob jingle Heimer Smith

I dont care who you are, who you think you are, or what you think you've been through.You do not come to Texas and kill or attempt to kill people who have given most of their lives in public service, there was so much wrong with this case that I cant even begin, The jury got it right and as much as I know it was hard for those people to sentence this man to death, courage in the face of evil prevailed. RIP CMDR. Shaar.

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