Friday, July 18, 2008

Man Accused In Corrections Officer Murder Meets Judge

DAYTONA BEACH -- The prisoner accused in the murder of a corrections officer made his appearance in court Thursday to answer the murder charge.

The arraignment for Enoch Hall almost didn't happen. Hall's attorneys wanted to enter a not guilty plea without having Hall appear. However, Judge J. David Walsh wanted to see him.

Hall entered a not guilty plea in the June 25 rape and murder of Donna Fitzgerald, a corrections officer at the Tomoka Correctional Institution.

"Without the death penalty in these type of cases, we believe our corrections officers would not be as safe as they are, and other inmates in the jail -- in the prisons -- would not be as safe. So, this certainly is an example where the State of Florida, in its wisdom in having a death penalty, makes our prisons safer for both the guards and the inmates," said State Attorney John Tanner.

Hall's next appearance is scheduled for Sept. 23. He will be held in the Volusia County branch jail until his trial begins so his attorneys will have the chance to talk with him as they build their case.

Fitzgerald was the first correctional officer killed in the line of duty at the facility.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Hall admitted to killing Fitzgerald with a piece of sheet metal which he had formed into a knife.

Hall was indicted in the case last week. Tanner said Hall will be charged with capital murder, which means he faces the death penalty.

Hall already is serving two life sentences for the rape and kidnap of an Escambia County woman.

Tanner said he is fast-tracking the case because it involves a law enforcement officer. He hopes to go to trial within six months.

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