Charleston, South Carolina — Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that federal inmate George Hall was convicted following a jury trial in federal court for charges stemming from a violent prison attack. Hall’s trial marks the first federal criminal jury trial in Charleston since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States in March of 2020.
Evidence presented by the Government during the trial established that Hall attacked another inmate from behind with a homemade prison weapon constructed from a prison belt and a metal combination lock. Hall repeatedly struck the victim in the head and face with this weapon and stood over him beating him after he fell to the ground. The victim was ultimately able to flee, but not before suffering numerous lacerations, a fractured skull, and a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Prison officials found the victim bleeding in his cell after following a trail of blood from the scene of the attack. The victim survived but was hospitalized for multiple nights and suffered temporary hearing loss and permanent scarring from the assault.
Video footage of the attack showed that the victim never struck Hall or fought back, and he testified that he had never even spoken to Hall prior to being assaulted. At the time of the attack, Hall was serving a 25-year prison sentence for the attempted murder of a U.S. Postal carrier in Florida in 1993. The jury took less than an hour to find Hall guilty on all charges, including assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to cause injury and assault resulting in serious injuries.
United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel presided over the trial and will sentence Hall after receiving and reviewing a pre-sentence report prepared by the United States Probation Office. Hall faces up to ten years in federal prison.
Citing the advice of medical professionals, the court implemented special procedures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Masked jurors were seated in the gallery to allow for social distancing, while the prosecution and defense attorneys sat facing one another in the center of the courtroom between the jury and the judge.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart and Assistant United States Attorney Chris Schoen tried the case.