Michelle Garner Hall

On July 30, 2008 Michelle Hall would call 9-1-1 and report that her husband had shot her and then himself in their Sharpsburg Georgia home.  By the end of the night John "Britt" Hall would be in a body bag and Michelle Hall would be in handcuffs.

Michelle's story fell apart rather quickly and just over a year later a jury would convict her in the murder of her husband.  This does not seem to be one of those spousal murders in which there was all kinds of life insurance, although I cannot say there was none.  It does not even seem that the prosecution knew for sure what caused the argument between the couple that ended in his death. But, the exact reason did not matter.  The prosecution had her changing stories, an expert to testify that the forensics and medical examination did not match either or her scenarios, a daughter who would hear the escalating argument that included the victim yelling for her to put the gun down, and testimony that just about anything could have set her off.

Michelle would first tell authorities that John had shot her and had then committed suicide.  She would then say that the two had struggled over the gun (although I am uncertain as to her story as to why) and that he was shot in the leg.  She would claim that she went outside and attempted to unload the weapon, which she failed to do, went back inside and the struggle continued. This time John was shot in his chest accidentally.  

The forensics and medical examination told a very different story.  John Hall's body had three gunshot wounds and he had a significant injury behind one of his ears.  The coroner believed that the gunshot wounds to Johns leg and the back of one of his arms were post mortem, meaning they occurred after he had already died.  They also determined that while the gunshot wound to his chest was in fact the fatal shot, had come first, and obviously dead men cannot shoot themselves, but occurred anywhere from six to eight inches from his body. There was no gunshot residue around the wound to show the gun had been in direct contact or very close when it had been shot.  This means that neither the story that he committed suicide nor that they had struggled and the gun accidentally discharged. 

Michelle's eight year old daughter would testify that she was in the home and while she often heard the couple fight, on this particular night she had heard her stepfather yell "put the gun down" before it was fired.  She would testify on a closed circuit television that was shown in the courtroom and that would be made an issue at a later point.

Another thing that would be brought up in an appeal after her conviction was the fact that two of her ex husbands had been allowed to testify about instances that occurred during their marriages to Michelle.  Ex-husband, Steve Davis would say that Michelle had once attacked him for forgetting to bring home ice for their daughters first birthday party.  He would also testify of another attack the following spring and another man testified to seeing that one.  Ex-husband, Rusty Hart would testify that she had once punched him in the nose because she believed he was "acting romantic" to another woman (who happened to be John Hall's first wife) and that after their divorce he had gone to the home to get his things and she had thrown a phone at him hitting him.  The point of the prosecution seemed to be showing the jury that Michelle had a tendency to overreact and be abusive in her relationships.  

In September of 2009 Michelle would be sentenced to life with parole after serving thirty years.  Her conviction and sentence would be affirmed.  But then in a 2012 habeas corpus filing a judge decided she had the right to have a new trial almost entirely based on the fact she claimed she had ineffective counsel at her trial.  She argued that her attorney had not argued against her daughter testifying through CC TV and that it prevented her from adequately conversing with her attorney as well as confronting her accuser.  She also argued, that they had not objected when her ex-husbands testified.  A new trial was ordered but of course she was to remain in jail until such time, also giving the state the time to appeal this decision, which they did.  In 2013 the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated her conviction stating that the previous judge had, well, basically been wrong. 


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