TERRE 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.
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 administration resumed federal executions this 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.
“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. Read from source….