Wilford Earl Hall Jr.


Staff photo — Tommy Witherspoon

A former construction worker was sentenced to four consecutive life prison terms Thursday for the long-term sexual abuse of a family member starting when she was 13.

Jurors in Waco’s 54th State District Court recommended maximum prison terms, plus $10,000 fines, on each of the 10 cases on which they convicted 46-year-old Wilford Earl Hall Jr.

Jurors found Hall guilty Thursday morning on four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, five counts of sexual assault and one count of indecency with a child by contact.

Judge Matt Johnson ordered that Hall serve the counts consecutively, meaning he will not be eligible for parole for 180 years.

The girl had been living with her mother in Houston most of her life and had never met Hall, a family member, when her mother sent her to Waco to live with him in November 2007.

The girl, who is now 24 and married, told jurors Hall sexually assaulted her the first night she arrived in Waco and continued abusing her “hundreds if not thousands” of times before a Child Protective Services investigation in November 2009 forced the girl to return to Houston to live with her mother.

The girl did not report abuse at that time, but she spent a week in a psychiatric hospital because of suicide concerns.

While there was no police investigation at that time, CPS investigators determined there was sufficient evidence to remove her from Hall’s home. However, conditions were so bad at her mother’s house that the girl came back to Waco and moved in again with Hall in the summer of 2011, she said.

“You have heard the song, ‘Looking for Love’ in all the wrong places,” prosecutor Hilary LaBorde told the jury in summations. “That is what this case is all about.”

The girl reported the sexual abuse to a police officer at Waco High School in September 2011.

Hall, who has a felony conviction for retaliation and misdemeanor convictions for assault, theft, criminal mischief and driving while license suspended, denied the allegations. He told the jury he traveled for months at a time for his construction job and was not at home much.

“Mr. Hall appreciates that the jury gave fair consideration of all the evidence,” his attorney, Alan Bennett, said. “He obviously disagrees with the verdict but he respects the process.”

Hall’s trial, which started Dec. 18 with jury selection, was delayed three times. After jury selection, Bennett came down with the flu, and the trial was rescheduled for Jan. 8. A juror had the flu at that time, so the judge put the trial off for Jan. 22. A defense witness had a death in her family at that time, and the trial was postponed again until this week.

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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