Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jury deliberates twin’s fate

Dante Hall could join brother, Donte, on death row

By Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel

7:33 PM EDT, March 24, 2010

TAVARES — Jurors weighing the fate of an Orlando twin charged in a double murder in Eustis gave up tonight and will return to work in the morning.

Dante Hall, 25, could face the death penalty if convicted of the murders of Anthony Bernard Blunt of Mount Dora and Kison Evans of Tavares, who were shot to death at a house party in Eustis by masked intruders. Police detectives say Hall and his identical twin brother, Donte, were two of the assailants.

Jurors paused from their deliberations about 4:30 p.m. to ask Circuit Judge T. Michael Johnson whether the panel had to agree that Dante Hall was in possession of a gun at the crime scene.

At least three of the intruders showed guns, one of which was an AK-47 that sprayed bullets around the party house.

The question suggests the jury doubts Hall's alibi that he was gambling and selling drugs in Orlando.

Neither Assistant State Attorney Bill Gross nor defense lawyers John Spivey or Michael Graves would speculate.

Both victims were guests at the party house on Gottsche Avenue known as "The Valley."

Donte Hall's stripper-girlfriend, Angel Glenn, had been hired to perform at the men-only party and helped conspire to rob the guests of money, jewelry and drugs that were on hand, Eustis police detectives have said.

Jurors sat through five days of testimony and argument in the latest trial.

The judge has enforced rules of evidence that prevent the lawyers and witnesses from telling the jury panel the verdict in the other twin's trial.

Dante Hall testified Tuesday that he was not in Eustis on the night of the killings, but that his brother had borrowed his car with his cell phone in it.

Gross told jurors that Hall's testimony was self-serving and not credible.

Prosecutors and Eustis police used cell phone records in an effort to show that Dante Hall accompanied his brother and two other men, who have not yet been charged in the killings, in the deadly home invasion and robbery.

The records document calls between Hall and his girlfriend, Kim Jones, originating from the area of the crime scene. Hall, a reputed drug dealer in Orlando, also called at least one of his regular customers that night.

Glenn, 22, who also is facing murder and conspiracy charges in the killings, has testified that both brothers were in the house, masked but armed. She said she recognized their voices.

Glenn has received limited immunity to testify.

She and two girlfriends fled the party half-naked when the shooting started.

Stephen Hudak can be reached at shudak@orlandosentinel.com or 352-742-5930.

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