Waiting to Die: Orlando Hall

News 10's Jordan Kudisch describes Orlando Hall in his final moments.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 2:44 AM
Updated: Nov 20, 2020 7:12 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- At 11:47 p.m. on November 19th, 2020 Orlando Cordia Hall took his final breath after receiving a lethal dose of pentobarbital.

Hall's execution is a result of a crime committed in 1994. He was among 5 men convicted of abducting and killing, 16-year-old, Lisa Rene.

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Who is Orlando Hall

"Attorney General William P. Barr today directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the execution of Orlando Cordia Hall, who was sentenced to death after kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 16-year-old girl in 1994.

In September 1994, Hall and several accomplices ran a marijuana trafficking operation out of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. After a failed drug transaction involving $4,700, Hall and his accomplices went to the Arlington, Texas, home of a man they believed had reneged on the deal. The man’s 16-year-old sister, Lisa Rene, answered the door. Although she was simply an innocent bystander, Hall and his accomplices kidnapped her at gunpoint, and Hall raped her in the car. Hall’s accomplices subsequently drove her to a motel in Arkansas, where they raped her several more times. Hall and his accomplices then took her to a park where they had dug a grave. There, they beat her over the head with a shovel, soaked her with gasoline, and buried her alive.

In October 1995, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas found Hall guilty of, among other offenses, kidnapping resulting in death, and unanimously recommended a death sentence, which the court imposed. Hall’s convictions and sentences were affirmed on appeal more than 20 years ago, and his initial round of collateral challenges failed nearly 15 years ago. In 2006, Hall received a preliminary injunction from a federal district court in Washington, D.C., based on his challenge to the then-existing federal lethal-injection protocol. That injunction was vacated by the district court on Sept. 20, 2020, making Hall the only child murderer on federal death row who is eligible for execution and not subject to a stay or injunction. Hall’s execution is scheduled for Nov. 19, 2020, at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana."

According to documents, Hall was a marijuana trafficker in Arkansas and sometimes made his way to Texas.

On September 24th, 1994, while in Texas, he gave $4,700 dollars to Rene's brother in exchange for marijuana.

After receiving a botched batch, he and his accomplices, abducted Rene, repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her, struck her head approximately 15 times with a shovel, and then buried her in a grave while she was still alive.

------

I arrived at the media center at 4 p.m. 

At the time of arrival, my temperature was taken and I was asked a series of questions in regards to COVID-19 symptoms.

After processing, I sat at a table filling out paperwork. This was just the beginning of what would become a very long day,

Hall's execution was scheduled for 6 p.m. but after a back-and-forth legal battle, he cheated death for almost 6 more hours.

I waited for several hours before any movement began on the scheduled execution.

I continued to check official government sites and social media accounts but was left with no real answers. 

Once it became clear that the execution was going to move forward, my phone was taken away, and I was screened yet again.

I entered the death chamber at 11:30 p.m. 

This was my second time witnessing an execution, and in a very discomforting way, the chamber had a sense of familiarity. 

It smelled like a hospital room, the walls were green and white, and the room itself was very small, feeling cramped with 5 journalists inside.

Just moments inside of the chamber, the curtains rose, revealing 49-year-old, Hall.

His appearance was much different than his mug shots taken 20 years ago. I've always found this interesting. What we expect a person to look like, is the exact opposite of how they appear. In this case, he had more weight, grey hairs, and facial hairs.

He laid on the gurney, arms flat across the padding, with IVs in each arm. 

A mint sheet covered his entire body all the way up to his neck. His feet stuck out from under the covering.

Hall was given the chance to present a final statement.

He looked up and around the room, desperately searching for his family.

I could see his eyes watering as he tried to maintain his composure.

He started with an Islamic prayer and then said, "I invite everyone to Islam. Thank you for giving me the opportunity for forgiveness. Thank everyone who's here, my family, my loved ones."

The U.S. Marshall began to read Hall's crimes, but his words were overshadowed by the cries of Hall.

He continued to announce, "I love y'all, I'm ok. Tell my kids I love them."

As the Marshall instructed the lethal injection to begin, Hall mouthed Islamic prayers until he was unable to overpower the lethal dose.

He yawned twice during the injection. His feet kicked and fluttered. He winced, almost as if he was experiencing a level of discomfort or pain. His lips began to lose color. His fingertips drained of color turning to a shade of blue. His face was to the side, looking at his family the entire time. 

During the injection process, he remained locked in with his family. However, at one point I did make eye contact with him. Something that caused me to feel so uncomfortable, that I had to look away at the moment.

In the same corner of the room as his family, stood his spiritual advisor.

After what felt like forever, his vitals were taken at 11:46 p.m. Just moments later, he was declared dead.

Over the speaker, "Death has occurred at 11:47 p.m. That concludes the execution of inmate Hall."

I scrambled to write down the time and final thoughts on notebook paper. The curtains came down, doors were unlocked, and we were escorted back to the buses.

When arriving back at the media center, all of the journalists received a final statement from the victim's family.

It said, "Today 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. 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. Please pray for our family as well as his," Pearl Rene.

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