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William Eugene HALL Jr.





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Prison escape - Robbery
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: June 22, 1988
Date of arrest: July 6, 1988
Date of birth: October 9, 1956
Victims profile: Myrtle and Buford Vester
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Stewart County, Tennessee, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on December 4, 1991

The Supreme Court of Tennessee

State of Tennessee v. William E. Hall and Derrick D. Quintero

The Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee

Derrick Quintero and William Eugene Hall, Jr. v. State of Tennessee

William Hall and Derrick Quintero were convicted of the 1988 slayings of an elderly Stewart County couple in their home. The murders were committed after Quintero and Hall escaped from a Kentucky prison.



The proof introduced by the State during the guilt phase of the trial demonstrated that Myrtle and Buford Vester were murdered in their home in the Leatherwood community of Stewart County, which is situated on Kentucky Lake and in close proximity to the Tennessee-Kentucky border.   The Vesters were murdered sometime after their son left their home at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 19, 1988 and sometime before their bodies were discovered by their neighbor around 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 22, 1988.

Along with six other men, the defendants in this appeal, Derrick Quintero and William Hall, escaped from the Kentucky State Penitentiary at Eddyville during the early morning hours of June 16, 1988.   Three of the escapees were apprehended in the vicinity of the prison on or before June 18, 1988.   However, the other five escapees, including Quintero, Hall, James Blanton, Joseph Montgomery, and Ronnie Hudson left the area in a 1966 Chevrolet pick-up truck which they stole from Curtis Rogers who lived about one-half of a mile from the prison facility.

The Stewart County Sheriff's department was notified at 2:30 a.m. on June 16 that inmates had escaped from the penitentiary at Eddyville.   After news of the escape had been broadcast to the public, the Sheriff's department received a telephone call from Zachery Pallay, a resident of the Leatherwood community, warning that Quintero was familiar with the area and would probably seek refuge there.   The Sheriff's department's also received several reports of suspicious individuals in the Leatherwood area including a report of three men attempting to flag down a car.   However, when a rash of burglaries broke out in the Leatherwood community, the Sheriff's department became convinced that the escapees were in the area.   The burglarized residences in Stewart County were owned by Jim McMinn, Neal Foster, Essie Settles, Alfred Cherry, Thomas Harris, and John and Virginia Crawford.

Though it is not possible to determine from the record the precise order in which the burglaries occurred, the proof demonstrates that five of the six burglaries occurred before 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 19, 1988.

The first burglary was reported and occurred on June 18, 1988.   That day, Jim McMinn of Clarksville, Tennessee, arrived at his cabin in the Leatherwood area at approximately noon.   He left the cabin to go fishing in his boat at around 1:00 p.m. Upon returning to the cabin at 2:30 or 3:00 p.m., McMinn noticed a box of shotgun shells lying on the floor and discovered that his loaded .22 caliber pistol was missing from the bedroom.   The telephone in his cabin had been removed from the wall, and the outside portion of the phone line also had been severed.   McMinn went to his truck and discovered that the windows had been rolled up and the ignition destroyed with his ax.   The telephone from McMinn's cabin was in the bed of the truck.

Following the report of the McMinn burglary on June 18, the Sheriff's Department initiated an intensive search of the area, utilizing helicopters, four-wheel drive vehicles, and tracking dogs.   At one point law enforcement officers chased some individuals on foot through the woods, but they were not able to overtake the persons suspected to be the escapees.

At some point, perhaps during that chase, Hudson and Montgomery became separated from the defendants and Blanton.   Hudson and Montgomery left the Leatherwood community and drove to Lebanon, Kentucky in a 1982 White Ford Fairmont they stole from Essie Settles, a resident of the Standing Rock Community, which is approximately six highway miles from the Leatherwood community.   Montgomery's fingerprint was found on Settles' garage door.   Hudson's fingerprint was found inside the car when it was later recovered.   Settles had seen the car in her garage around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and discovered that it was missing at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.   The proof demonstrated that the car was stolen sometime Saturday night or before daylight on Sunday morning.   Burned matches were found inside the garage indicating that it had been dark when the theft occurred.   In addition, when she watered her flowers around 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, Settles noticed that someone had removed the hose from the outside faucet during the night.   Settles stated that the hose had been connected when she had used it on Saturday evening around 6:00 p.m.

Hudson and Montgomery arrived at Hudson's brother's apartment in Lebanon, Kentucky on Sunday, June 19, at approximately 1:00 p.m. They were driving a white car with Tennessee license plates, which witnesses identified at trial as the vehicle which had been stolen from Settles.   Hudson's brother and a friend accompanied the two escapees to a secluded area on the river where Hudson and Montgomery hid the stolen car among the weeds.   Around 6:00 or 6:30 p.m., Hudson's brother left the two escapees in the company of Hudson's mother and sister.   The next day, Hudson's sister, her two children, and Martha Grover picked up the two escapees and transported them to Grover's apartment where they stayed until early evening on Tuesday, June 21.   The following day, Wednesday, June 22, Kentucky authorities apprehended both Hudson and Montgomery near the location where Settles' car had been hidden.   Shots were exchanged prior to the convicts' apprehension.   Hudson and Montgomery had in their possession McMinn's .22 caliber pistol and a .22 caliber pistol which had been stolen from another resident of the Leatherwood community, Neal Foster.   Two live rounds were recovered from Foster's pistol, and four spent shells were recovered in the area.   While this proof demonstrated that Hudson and Montgomery were some two hundred miles away in Lebanon, Kentucky when the Vesters were murdered in Stewart County, Tennessee, it also showed that the McMinn and Foster burglaries occurred before 1:00 p.m. on June 19.

The Cherry and Harris burglaries were discovered around 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. on June 19, 1988 by Alfred Cherry.   Cherry's trailer was located approximately one-half of a mile from the murder victims' residence.   The inside of the trailer was in disarray.   A bed was unmade and wet towels were in the bathroom.   The refrigerator light switch had been taped down to prohibit the light from operating when the refrigerator door was opened.   The hot water tank had been set on high.

Missing from the trailer were two bedspreads, a green thermal blanket, a sleeping bag, a portable radio, approximately fifteen cassette tapes, a rechargeable flashlight, a small handsaw, six knives, coffee mugs, various canned goods, a gallon of homemade wine, two bottles of bourbon, a six-pack of beer, a toothbrush, underwear, and two paperweights bearing the Cumberland Electric logo.

Cherry did not have a telephone in his trailer.   Upon discovering the burglary, he went next door to call the police on the telephone in the trailer owned by his brother-in-law, Thomas Harris.   Cherry discovered that Harris' trailer had also been burglarized.   The trailer had been ransacked.   The refrigerator light had been removed.   The sink was full of dirty dishes, and food was in a skillet on the stove.   Wet towels and sheets were strewn about and cigarette burns were all over the floors.   Stolen from the trailer were all the canned food items, two quilts, silverware, butcher knives, towels, toilet articles, and a fishing tackle.

When Harris later received his telephone bill, he realized that several unauthorized long distance telephone calls had been placed from his trailer.   Three of the unauthorized calls had been placed to a number in Springtown, Texas.   These calls occurred on Sunday, June 19, at 3:51 a.m., 8:55 a.m. and 9:19 a.m. Two additional unauthorized calls were placed to a telephone number in Hopewell, Pennsylvania, at 4:00 a.m. and 9:19 a.m. The telephone number called in Springtown, Texas, was listed to Bryan Quintero, who is a brother of Derrick Quintero.   The telephone number called in Hopewell, Pennsylvania, was listed to a Barbara Vasser, William Hall's girlfriend.

At trial, Vasser testified that Hall told her during their first telephone conversation after the escape that his parole had been denied.   Hall would not reveal to Vasser his and Quintero's location, but told Vasser that there were helicopters in the area searching for the escapees and that he and Quintero had been separated from Hudson and Montgomery.

Two knives taken from the Cherry trailer were found at Neal Foster's residence indicating that it was burglarized sometime after the Cherry and Harris trailers.   Again, however, the burglary occurred sometime before 1:00 p.m on June 19, because Montgomery and Hudson had in their possession a gun which had been stolen from the Foster residence when they were apprehended.

However, Foster did not discover the burglary until Tuesday, June 21.   The residence had been ransacked.   Food was on a kitchen counter, deer steaks were in the microwave, and his binoculars were sitting on a kitchen counter.   A green ammunition box, a plastic bag full of old coins, a flashlight, and the holster for his .22 caliber RG pistol were on the floor of the living room.   The hallway floor was littered with a Diet Pepsi can, a tin can of old coins, a notebook that once had old coins in it, some socks, a laundry basket with clothes that did not belong to him, and a pair of white tennis shoes that did not belong to him.   Towels were strewn around the house.   He found in his bathroom a pocket knife, towels, a pair of socks, a .22 caliber shell box, and a 20 gauge shotgun shell.   The beds were unmade and had items spread on top of them.   The master bedroom dresser drawers were open, and items were scattered all around the bedroom, including two walkie-talkies, a hacksaw, and a 12 gauge shotgun barrel.   In the front bedroom, he found several hats, matchbooks, a jar of marshmallow cream, a box of graham crackers, and a small drinking glass.

In a walk-in closet in the residence Foster had kept a .22 caliber pistol, a Glenfield .22 caliber rifle, a Marlin .30-30 caliber lever action rifle, a 20 gauge shotgun, a single shot shotgun, and a Remington Model 1100, 12 gauge shotgun.   Following the burglary, he found the 12 gauge shotgun lying on his bed.   Someone had attempted to saw off the barrel and had rendered the gun inoperable.   The 20 gauge shotgun was missing from his house, but a portion of the gun's barrel had been sawed off and left in Foster's bedroom.   Also missing after the burglary were his .30-30 lever action rifle and ammunition for various weapons, including .30-30 accelerator rifle bullets, .30-30 caliber rifle shells, 20 gauge shotgun shells, and 12 gauge shotgun shells.   In addition to the ammunition, several coins which Foster had collected, including silver dollars, were taken in the burglary.

The authorities found several latent prints at the Foster residence, and identified some of them as belonging to the escapees.   A latent left thumb print matching that of Quintero was found on a full box of Federal 12 gauge shotgun shells.   A latent right ring fingerprint matching that of Quintero was found on another Federal 12 gauge shotgun shell box.   A right middle finger and a right index fingerprint matching Blanton's print was found on a Federal field load 12 gauge shotgun shell box.   A right palm print matching that of Quintero was lifted from one of the gun barrels.   A latent right ring fingerprint matching that of Hall was lifted from a Diet Pepsi can.

Though the Crawford burglary was not discovered until after the Vesters' bodies had been discovered, a glove taken from the Crawford residence was found at the home of the murder victims, indicating that the burglary actually occurred before the murder.   The Crawford residence was less than a quarter of a mile from the Vesters' home.   John and Virginia Crawford had left their trailer, clean and orderly, around 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June, 19.   Following the burglary, they found their kitchen ransacked.   Canned foods, crackers, and candy bars from the cabinet and refrigerator had been eaten.   Prints were lifted from several items in the trailer.   A latent left thumb print matching that of Hall was found on the bottom of a can of ham.   A latent right index fingerprint left by Blanton was lifted from a Butterfinger candy wrapper found inside the refrigerator.   The Crawfords identified two gloves found at the trailer, one white jersey and one brown jersey, as belonging to Mrs. Crawford.   A patch on one of the gloves had been sewn on by Mrs. Crawford.   Mr. Crawford testified that a flashlight had also been taken from the trailer.   One of the gloves found at the Crawfords' trailer matched a glove found outside the Vesters' front bedroom window.   A fiber analysis of the two gloves indicated that they were likely originally sold together as a pair.

With respect to the timing of the murder, the proof showed that late on Monday evening, June 20, John Corlew and Arthur Jenkins arrived at the Leatherwood boat dock, launched their boat, and night fished in the Leatherwood Bay. Between 11:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. they heard five gunshots emanating from the direction of the Vesters' residence.   Corlew testified that he first heard two gunshots that were fairly clear, and after a pause, he heard two additional shots, another pause, and one final shot.   Corlew testified that the first two shots and the second two shots sounded as if they were from different weapons.   Mr. Jenkins testified that the two initial shots sounded like repercussions from a pistol.   Both Jenkins and Corlew heard a total of five gunshots.

The victims, Buford and Myrtle Vester, were last seen alive around 6:00 p.m. on Sunday June 19 by their son Wayne.   He, along with his twelve-year-old son, had arrived at his parents' home for a weekend visit on the evening of Friday, June 17.   He had picked up groceries for his parents including Pepsi colas, lunch meat, bread, and milk.   Wayne Vester left his parents home on Sunday, June 19, at approximately 6:00 p.m. At that time, the Vesters were alive and well.   Wayne attempted, unsuccessfully, to reach his parents by telephone once on Monday, June 20, and twice on Tuesday, June 21.   Concerned, Wayne called their neighbor, Howard Allor, who lived approximately one quarter of a mile from the Vesters, but Allor had not seen them since the preceding Friday morning.   When Wayne was still unable to reach his parents on June 22, he again called Allor and asked him to check on them.   Allor drove to the Vesters' residence and discovered their dead bodies.   He attempted to telephone the Sheriff from their residence, but the telephone was not functioning, so he returned home and reported the murders to the authorities.

David Hicks, Sheriff of Stewart County, was notified of the Vester murders at approximately 1:00 or 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22.   The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (“T.B.I.”) conducted the primary investigation of the crime scene.   The only entrance to the Vester residence was a screen door located at the side of the house opposite to the victims' bedrooms.   The screen door had not been damaged.   However, the front window was open, and the screen from the front window was lying on the ground near Myrtle Vester's bedroom window which was located at the back of the house.   Underneath the front window was a concrete block which apparently had been taken from the front of a shed located at the back of the house.   A cloth glove which matched a glove found at the Crawfords' residence was found on the ground beside the concrete block.   An unopened Pepsi cola can lay next to the walkway to the screen door of the house.   The packages of Pepsi cola that Wayne Vester had brought his parents were missing from the porch.   The Vesters' maroon 1985 Pontiac Bonneville also was missing.   The wires to the telephone connection box outside the Vesters' residence had been damaged and the line was dead.   A live 20 gauge Federal shotgun shell with number 6 bird shot was found lying near the electrical box.   A spent 20 gauge number 4 shot Federal shotgun shell casing was found near the shed approximately 18 feet from Mr. Vester's back bedroom window.

The windows to the victims' bedrooms were located along the back of the house.   Buford Vester's bedroom window frame was visibly bent.   The screen covering the window had a hole in it which indicated that Mr. Vester was shot at least once from outside the house.   Some the glass louvers were broken, and shards of glass were found lying on the bed.   Mr. Vester's body was found on the floor next to his bed.   The covers were drawn back, and blood was on both the pillow and the bed.   Number 4 and 5 bird shot pellets were retrieved from Mr. Vester's room.   Two shot shell filler wads were found beside Mr. Vester's body, and a 20 gauge plastic shot wad was recovered from beside his head.   A plastic shot sleeve, one shot shell, a plastic shot wad, and several shot pellets, all either number 4 or 5 bird shot, were recovered from Mr. Vester's body.

The victims were in separate bedrooms joined by a bathroom.   Myrtle Vester's body was found lying in a pool of dried blood on the floor of her bedroom next to the bathroom.   Mrs. Vester had been shot three times, once with a 20 gauge shotgun, once with a high-powered rifle, and once again with either a shotgun or a high-powered rifle.   She also had been stabbed thirteen times.   A copper-jacketed bullet was recovered from her body.   Blood was found on Mrs. Vester's bed, and a considerable amount of blood was found on the bathroom floor.   Blood was splattered on both the bathtub and the commode, and the bottoms of Mrs. Vester's feet also were covered in blood.   The screen covering Mrs. Vester's bedroom window also had a hole in it, indicating that at least one shot had been fired from outside.   The open and unbroken condition of the glass louvers indicated that the high-powered rifle or shotgun had been near the window when it was fired.   Shot was sprayed all over the house, especially the kitchen.   All of the shot pellets found in the house were either number 4 or 5.

On the victims' sofa authorities found a portion of The Tennessean, dated Monday, June 20, 1988.   The local mail carrier testified that the victims did not receive The Tennessean by mail.   A live 20 gauge shotgun shell with number 7.5 shot was found lying on the floor in the front bedroom next to a ransacked jewelry box.

Dr. Charles Harlan, the medical examiner, performed an autopsy on each victim and testified that the Vesters had died within two hours of consuming dinner.   He stated that the victims had been shot a total of five times, and a minimum of three different weapons had been used to murder them.

Mrs. Vester had sustained three gunshot wounds.   Gunshot wound A, located at the right portion of Mrs. Vester's chest just below her collarbone, measured approximately a quarter of an inch and was basically round in shape.   This wound resulted when a copper jacketed bullet entered Mrs. Vester's body and lodged in her left arm.   Wound B resulted from a shotgun blast and was located in the upper arm.   This wound measured 3.4 inches by 1.8 inches, was jagged, with an irregular edge, and had multiple associated tangential abrasions.   Wound C resulted from either a high-velocity rifle or shotgun.   This gunshot blast had severed the two bones in Mrs. Vester's right forearm, leaving her hand and wrist attached to her body by a piece of tissue, consisting of only skin, muscle, and fat.   Dr. Harlan could not determine the order in which these three gunshot wounds were inflicted.

Mrs. Vester also had sustained thirteen stab wounds, one to the middle of her back and twelve to her head, neck, and shoulder region.   A majority of the stab wounds were inflicted to the left side of her head and neck.   Dr. Harlan surmised that the puncture wounds were made by a squared object with a sharp edge, such as a kitchen or hunting knife.   Two of the stab wounds severed her right and left common carotid arteries.   The right carotid artery was 90 percent severed, and the left was 10 percent severed.   Dr. Harlan testified that either the injuries to her carotid arteries or the gunshot injury to her right forearm would have been fatal.   Dr. Harlan determined that Mrs. Vester could have survived the brutal attack for up to 15 minutes.

Mr. Vester had sustained two gunshot wounds.   Shotgun wound A was located at the head and neck juncture.   The total dispersal pattern of shotgun pellets was 13 inches.   Wound A caused significant injury to his left lung, aorta, and pulmonary artery.   Shotgun wound B was to Mr. Vester's right breast and caused trauma to his right lung and to his liver.   Dr. Harlan recovered shotgun pellets and a shot column from Mr. Vester's chest and abdomen.   Dr. Harlan opined that Mr. Vester could have survived from four to twelve minutes after sustaining the gunshot injuries.

On June 21, 1988, around 8 a.m., employees of the Memphis Funeral Home observed three men, in a maroon Pontiac which was later identified as the victims' car, enter the funeral home parking lot and park the car approximately 250 feet from the building.   Two employees of the funeral home testified that one man got out of the front seat, took his tank top off, and put on three additional shirts.   The two other men also exited the car.   None of the witnesses could make a positive identification of the three men.   The witnesses testified that all three men were white and about the same height, but two of the men were approximately 180 pounds and had darker hair.   They stated that all three men had facial hair.   One funeral home employee described the three men as having beards and stated that one had long hair.

The three men remained in the parking lot for approximately five to eight minutes.   Then, after one of them took something out of the trunk, the three men walked towards a hospital across the street from the funeral home.   One of the men turned, walked back to the car, and appeared to have placed an item back into the car.   He then joined the two other men, and then all three walked away.   The funeral home employees assumed that the three men were working on a construction project at the hospital.   However, when the car had not been removed by Thursday, the funeral home employees contacted the Memphis Police Department.

On the morning of Thursday, June 23, the Memphis Police Crime Scene Squad responded to the call from the Memphis Funeral Home. The police found a 1985 maroon Pontiac Bonneville in the funeral home's parking lot.   The vehicle matched the description of the victims' vehicle.   The keys were in the car's ignition.   The officers found a sawed-off 20 gauge shotgun containing one live round under the floor mat behind the driver's seat which was later identified as the weapon stolen from the Foster residence, and as the weapon from which a spent shell found outside the Vesters' residence had been fired.   Foster was able to identify the weapon by its serial number;  however, the gun also had Foster's full name carved into it.   The police also discovered under a floor mat a .30-30 caliber cartridge which matched ammunition that had been taken from the Foster residence.   From a crumpled Budweiser beer can which also was found under the back seat police were able to lift three latent prints belonging to Blanton.   No other prints were found in the car.   The officer noted that the extremely hot temperatures in Memphis at the time the car was found made it difficult to lift intact prints.   Other items retrieved from the vehicle included a Ray-O-Vac flashlight, similar to one taken from the Crawford residence, electrical tape, thirteen 20 gauge shotgun shells, three 12-ounce Pepsi colas, one 12-pack of Pepsi colas, a portable electric air compressor, a Black & Decker car vacuum, and a brown umbrella.

Curtis Jones, who was a security guard at the Memphis Greyhound bus station, testified that he worked Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the bus station in June of 1988.   The bus station, located in downtown Memphis was approximately one mile from the Memphis Funeral Home. His job was to prevent loitering at the bus station.   Mr. Jones sat in a booth and observed people who came inside to determine whether they purchased tickets.   Periodically, he would walk around and ask people whether they had tickets or if they were waiting for someone to arrive.

Mr. Jones recalled three men entering the bus station either Tuesday, June 21, or Wednesday, June 22, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Two of the men sat down and watched television.   One of the two seated men spoke to a man seated nearby.   The third man, who had darker skin and appeared Hispanic, used a telephone.   Mr. Jones approached the two seated men and asked them whether they had tickets.   A man, whom he identified as Blanton, told him that they would leave as soon as their friend finished using the telephone.   The three men remained in the station five to ten minutes.   Later that same day, the Memphis police stopped by the bus station with a photographic line-up of the eight escapees.   Jones responded that Blanton and Hall had previously been at the station.   Later in the week, Jones spoke with T.B.I. Agent Stout.   Jones identified Blanton and Hall from a photographic line-up and made an in-court identification of Hall as one of the men at the bus station.

The Blue Movies West adult bookstore and entertainment center was located across the street from the bus station.   Shirley Denise Morrow testified that she worked as a cashier in the bookstore in June of 1988.   On Tuesday, June 21, the day before her birthday, three men entered the bookstore around 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. Two of the men were white, and one appeared Mexican.   The men traded a few silver dollars and half dollars for tokens.   Morrow also purchased some of the silver dollars and half dollars for herself.

The men went to the back of the establishment to watch movies.   Darlene Christof, a dancer at the establishment, testified that three “scruffy” men entered her booth on June 21.   Two of the men were white, and the other appeared either Hispanic or Mexican.   Ms. Christof informed the men that only one was allowed to remain in the booth.   Two of the men left.   From a photographic line-up, she identified the man who remained in her booth as Quintero.   Quintero later gave her several silver dollars and tried to sell her a class ring and a man's wedding band.

The men then returned to the front of the establishment approximately fifteen to twenty minutes later.   They attempted to sell Morrow what appeared to be a class ring and a wedding band.   Morrow declined and suggested they try a pawn shop.   One of the men indicated that they did not have any identification and offered Morrow fifty dollars if she would allow them to stay in the movie house until their transportation arrived.   Morrow declined their offer.   Christof then came out from the back of the establishment and pretended to use the telephone.   When Christof commented that the three men resembled the escapees from the Kentucky prison, they left.   Morrow then contacted the police.

When shown a pre-trial photographic array of the eight escapees, Morrow identified Blanton, Quintero, and Hall as the three men who had visited the bookstore.   Morrow turned over to the authorities the six silver dollars she had purchased from the men, and later, Foster identified the coins as those stolen from his residence.   Morrow also made an in-court identification of both Quintero and Hall.

Lt. Thomas Pryor, an employee at the Eddyville penitentiary, testified that Quintero had long hair, a moustache, long side burns and a goatee prior to the escape.   Lt. Pryor stated that he had never seen Hall with a beard.

Hall was eventually captured in El Paso, Texas.   Both Blanton and Quintero were captured in Mexico near El Paso. Barbara Vasser, Hall's girlfriend at the time, testified that her mother called the Pennsylvania State Police after Hall called her for a third time following the escape.   Afraid for Hall's safety, Vasser notified the authorities that she had agreed to wire money to him at the Western Union on North Stanton Street in El Paso, Texas.   Hall was apprehended by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“F.B.I.”) when he entered the Western Union in El Paso at approximately 2:20 p.m. on July 6, 1988.

On July 10, 1988, Quintero and Blanton were apprehended by Mexican officials at the Santa Fe Hotel in Juarez, located just across the border from El Paso, Texas, and transported across the international bridge.   F.B.I. agents took custody of both Quintero and Blanton from Mexican officials at a border checkpoint.   Found in Quintero's possession when he was taken into custody was an old wallet bearing an imprint of Neal Foster's driver's license.

Based upon the proof summarized above, the jury convicted both Hall and Quintero of two counts of murder during the perpetration of first degree burglary, three counts of grand larceny, one count of petit larceny and three counts of first degree burglary.

During the sentencing phase, the State introduced proof that both Quintero and Hall had previous convictions for crimes involving the use or threat of violence.   The State showed that Quintero had been previously convicted of two charges of escape in the first degree and one charge of first degree robbery.   The State also presented proof that Hall had previous convictions for two separate assaults, wanton endangerment in the first degree, and aiding and abetting in threatening the life of the President and Vice President of the United States of America.

Finally, the State introduced additional photographs and testimony concerning Mrs. Vester's body.   Mrs. Vester was found lying in her bedroom just outside the bathroom.   The State introduced photographs depicting the amount of blood on the bathroom floor and depicting the blood on the bottoms of Mrs. Vester's feet.   The State also introduced a photograph of the front of Mrs. Vester's body to demonstrate to the jury the severity of her injuries and the brutality of the attack.

In mitigation, Quintero presented the testimony of his uncle and aunt, Paul and Josey Quintero, who said that Quintero's parents drank constantly.   Quintero's father would stay away from home for long periods of time, and his mother had extramarital affairs.   Quintero was hungry for love and affection when he visited his uncle and aunt's home.   Paul Quintero testified that Quintero was always eager to seek his approval and never gave him any trouble.   Quintero's parents did not discipline their children unless they were angry or drunk, at which time they would beat the children.   Testimony also indicated that Quintero never had clothes which properly fit him, and as a result, he was ridiculed by the other children at school.

Paul and Josey Quintero testified that they had attempted to remain in contact with Quintero since learning of the criminal charges.   They related that Quintero had obtained his GED in prison and was also enrolled in refrigeration and air conditioning classes.   They believed that Quintero had improved himself and would make something productive of his life.

Quintero's cousin, Angela Alva, testified that she and Quintero were at one time very close.   She also related how Quintero's parents had abused alcohol, and testified that Quintero had kept company with his older brother, Roderick, who was a bad influence and not a good role model.   According to Alva, Quintero was a follower, and Roderick was aggressive.

A video deposition was shown of Helen Mimms Johnson, Quintero's first grade teacher.   Johnson testified that Quintero was mischievous but never mean.   He was held back a year and had trouble being attentive in class.   Quintero was never very clean and always seemed exhausted when he came to school.   Johnson never met Quintero's parents because they never attended any parent-teacher meetings.

Angela Holland and her 15-year-old son, Roderick Kent Quintero II, testified.   Holland had been married to Quintero's brother for approximately three years.   Holland and her son had maintained contact with Quintero and said that he had been influential in helping his nephew stay out of trouble.

In mitigation, William Hall presented the testimony of his older brother, Robert Hall, a prison minister.   Robert said that defendant Hall was born in Paducah, Kentucky.   Their parents divorced when defendant Hall was two years old.   Their father worked on a barge and was gone for extended periods of time.   Their mother died of throat cancer when defendant Hall was four, and at that point, Hall went to live with his father and stepmother.   Hall's stepmother was at one time addicted to codeine.

According to Robert, the Hall children were not disciplined nor taught right from wrong but were sometimes beaten.   Defendant Hall began getting into trouble in grade school.   He began drinking alcohol in his pre-teens, and by his early twenties, he had begun abusing drugs.   Robert testified that William Hall was a follower, not a leader.

For a time following his parole in 1982, defendant Hall had lived with Robert and his wife Ester in Pennsylvania.   He worked with Robert at a tire shop and attended church with Robert and Ester.   Robert testified that Hall had turned to God and changed his life.   Hall lived with Robert and Ester for eight months.   Hall, however, later moved into a trailer near his place of employment and began drinking.   Eventually, he returned to Kentucky.   The last time Robert and Ester had seen Hall was at his stepmother's funeral in 1987.   They speak with him weekly by telephone, however.

Barbara Vasser also testified.   She had met Hall when he had lived with his brother in Pennsylvania.   Vasser said that Hall's life had changed after he accepted Christ.   She and Hall were engaged but never set a date because Vasser was only seventeen years old at the time.   Vasser testified that she and Hall were friends off and on between 1982 and 1988.   Vasser said she had assisted the authorities because she had been afraid for Hall's safety.   Vasser had not remained in contact with Hall after his apprehension.

Dr. Kenneth Anchor, an associate professor of psychology at Vanderbilt and a clinical psychologist, testified that he prepared a psychological evaluation of Hall in 1991.   He testified as to the background information conveyed by Hall during the interview.   Hall grew up in Paducah, and his formal education ended after the ninth grade.   He later earned his GED while incarcerated.   Hall began using drugs and alcohol at age eleven and was addicted to Valium by age fourteen.   He was placed in juvenile detention several times and was sent to a youth development center.   Hall worked at different jobs while a young adult, but he had mostly been in and out of prison since age seventeen.   Hall informed Dr. Anchor that he had experienced two head injuries.   He fell off a porch as a baby and was struck in the head with a baseball bat when he was fourteen.

Dr. Anchor testified that Hall was cooperative and responsive during the interview.   Hall did not offer any excuses or attempt to blame others.   There was no indication of malingering.   Moreover, Hall was enthusiastic about his plans to pursue college courses in computers and data processing while incarcerated.

Hall scored a 99 on his I.Q. test which placed him in the 48th percentile.   Dr. Anchor testified that although Hall has a reasonable amount of intelligence, he has some difficulty utilizing it.   Hall experiences cognitive interference which is frequently seen in people who have habitually abused drugs and alcohol.   Dr. Anchor found Hall's judgment, reasoning, and problem-solving skills to be “unstable.”   According to Dr. Anchor, that finding is consistent with a history composed of head injuries and substance or polysubstance abuse.

Dr. Anchor concluded that Hall is seriously maladjusted and suffers from organic personality syndrome.   Dr. Anchor stated that persons with test profiles similar to Hall's usually have a strong sense of worthlessness and inferiority.   Hall feels a deep sense of shame, embarrassment, and humiliation for many of his past actions.   Dr. Anchor opined that Hall's psychological maladjustment can be treated effectively with counseling or psychotherapy.   At the time of trial, Dr. Anchor stated that Hall did not present a danger either to himself or to others in a prison setting.   Dr. Anchor opined that Hall's prognosis was good assuming he abstained from future substance abuse.   Dr. Anchor concluded that the prospects for social, educational, and vocational functioning were satisfactory.

In rebuttal, the State presented the testimony of Dr. Samuel Craddock, a clinical psychologist at Middle Tennessee Mental Heath Institute.   Dr. Craddock interviewed Hall and disagreed with Dr. Anchor as to the degree of danger Hall poses.   Dr. Craddock further testified that he had not seen any data to support a finding that Hall suffered from an organic personality syndrome.

Based upon this proof, the jury found five aggravating circumstances which were not outweighed by the mitigating circumstances and, therefore, sentenced the defendants to death for the murder of Myrtle Vester and to life imprisonment for the murder of Buford Vester.


William Eugene Hall, Jr.



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