Laura Hall screams, begs to be released



Posted on February 8, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 8 at 7:16 PM

A woman convicted of tampering with evidence in a brutal 2005 murder is back in jail.

Laura Hall screamed and begged to be released as deputies forcibly removed her from Judge Wilford Flowers' courtroom Monday morning.

Hall had hoped to remain free on bond until a new sentencing hearing, which is tentatively scheduled for  next month, but the judge said he had no choice but to order her locked up until that hearing takes place.

Hall was convicted of hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence in connection with the 2005 murder of Jennifer Cave.

When told she would be taken into custody, Hall began screaming:  "Please get me out of this," and "You need to let me go home."

Court officers forcibly removed her from the courtroom. Outside of public view, Hall apparently collapsed because officers could be heard saying loudly, "Get on your feet. On your feet."

Hall was convicted of hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence in connection with the 2005 murder of Jennifer Cave. Former Colton Pitonyak was convicted of murder in the case, and is serving a 55-year sentence.

During Hall's trial, prosecutors contended that Hall tried to destroy evidence and was involved in the mutilation of Cave's body, which was discovered in the bathtub of Pitonyak's West campus condo. They also contended that Hall helped Pitonyak escape to Mexico, where the pair was discovered.

An appeals court upheld Hall's convictions, but threw out her sentences and sent the case back to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing. On Monday, Judge Flowers said that in a case like this -- in which all appeals are exhausted and the defendant is convicted but waiting for a new sentence -- state law does not allow a defendant to be released on bond.

Outside of court, Laura Hall's father said no one in his family expected her to be taken into custody. He said Hall was living with him and his wife in the Bandera area and studying to take the LSAT to become a lawyer.

"It's devastating to her (to be) back to jail," Loren Hall said. "Put one of your family members in that position, and then imagine it's yourself, horrible. And we have another family in there that's gloating, They're happy. I understanding that because, well let's face it, they've lost their child."

But the family of murder victim Jennifer Cave said they were neither gloating nor happy.

"There's nothing to gloat about," said Sharon Sedwick, Cave's mother. "My daughter's dead."

Sedwick and her husband, Jim, said they were emotionally drained from the morning in court and were preparing to return to their home in the Corpus Christi area to prepare for the upcoming trial.

"We continue to be pleased with Judge Flowers," Jim Sedwick said. "We were very pleased with the outcome of today."