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The injustice of justice
posted June 23, 2008
OPINION – Was justice served last Tuesday
morning at the Edgefield County Courthouse? The murder charge for the
killing of 54-year-old Gregory Jones in November of 2006 was handed
down to Ollie Dwight Hall, who plead guilty to a reduced charge of
voluntary manslaughter. Mr. Hall, a former law enforcement officer in
Edgefield County and a Court Bailiff at the time of the killing, will
not see one day in the state prison system.
The night of the murder many of the local residents were telling each
other and law enforcement at the scene that nothing was going to be
done because Mr. Hall was a retired police officer. Authorities calmed
the growing crowd by telling them Hall would be treated like everybody
else. One has to wonder, does “everybody else” get to walk away from
killing an unarmed man with a sentence of being forced to sit at home
and watch TV all day for the next two years? Probably not.
Circuit Court Judge J. Cordell Maddox sentenced
Mr. Hall to two years
of house detention after suspending a ten-year sentence. That is
a precedent to set for voluntary manslaughter at the best and murder at
According to the facts delivered in the case in sentencing, Mr. Jones
had a blood alcohol level three times the point of intoxication when
the altercation took place. Mr. Hall, a trained law enforcement
officer, should have been able to resolve the situation without the use
a deadly force. Like it or not, we hold those in law enforcement to a
higher standard than the average citizen. Conspicuously missing was the
mention of the blood alcohol level of Mr. Hall at the time of the
Every thug that shoots someone in a fist fight will now point to the
Hall case and claim they did nothing more than a trained law
enforcement officer did and expect the same treatment in court, and
rightly so. Judge Maddox missed this one in our opinion, and he
evidently did not give consideration to the impact his ruling will have
in the future.
Fortunately the state is stepping in and reviewing the sentence. Mr.
Hall could see his sentence overturned and be forced to serve several
years in prison for his crime. Mr. Hall did not shoot in self-defense
or else he would not have plead to voluntary manslaughter but rather
taken his chances with a jury.
Mr. Hall killed an unarmed man and deserves to serve prison time for
his crime. Otherwise local law enforcement will have a hard time
gaining the trust of the common citizen who will state that only
criminals without a badge are punished.
Let’s hope the state takes a similar position on the matter for the
sake of county residents and local law enforcement.
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JAM Straight Customs
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