Wednesday, May 02, 2007

In Their Own Words: Aaron Hall's Killers Describe The Gruesome Details

The Crothersville Times has posted online today the gruesome details outlined in the probable cause affidavit filed in Jackson Circuit Court in connection with the brutal hate crime killing of a 35-year-old Crothersville man, Aaron Hall. It includes statements from the accused implicating themselves in Hall's death. John Hodge, the friend who received a text message with a photo attached showing Hall between the two accused killers, Garrett Gray and Coleman King, with a swollen black eye and a large, swollen lip, received a phone call from James Hendricks moments after receiving the text message. "They're beatin' the h--- out of that guy". The affidavit indicates the beating went on for hours, provoked according to the accused when Hall grabbed King's crotch area and asked for oral sex.

Neither Hodge nor Hendricks would take any steps to save the life of Aaron Hall. In fact, Hendricks would later help Gray and King load Hall into the back of Gray's pickup truck and drive him to a secluded farm lane where his body was dumped. When Hodge went to the ditch where Hall's body had been dumped the following day with Hendricks, he saw Hall's clothes lying in the ditch. Hendricks had wanted to return to the site to retrieve a new camouflage coat belonging to Hall he liked. In a field nearby he found Hall's body completely naked and severely beaten. Hall was dead. Hodge has not been charged with any crime, while Hendricks was charged with aiding a criminal, a Class C felony. Gray and King were charged with both murder and voluntary manslaughter. They will no doubt attempt to use the so-called "gay panic" defense to win the lesser charge.

The affidavit confirms Hall was still alive when he was dumped in the ditch. As they were driving Hall to dump him in the ditch, Gray is quoted as asking Hall if he wanted to die tonight. Hall said he didn't want to die, but Gray unleashed another beating of Hall after dumping him in the ditch.

According to King's statement, Gray and King returned to the scene later that night and Gray was armed with a shotgun. Gray told King Hall had to die or they would go to jail. King says Gray fired two shots, but he did not know whether any of the shots struck Hall. The final autopsy results have not been disclosed.

According to a friend of the Hall family, Leslie Horton, Hall stood about 5'4" high and weighed no more than 100 pounds. King and Gray, by comparison, were much bigger than Hall. As Horton described Hall, he was an "easy victim" for the killers.

Here is the complete probable cause affidavit:

Hall's body was discovered Sunday, April 22, wrapped in a tarp in the garage at the residence of Garrett Gray on South Bethany Road (also known as County Road 1025 East) ten days after he was last seen.

Police say Hall, Gray and King were drinking at the Gray residence when a fight developed.The following information is taken from the probable cause affidavit filed with Jackson Circuit Court. Readers should be warned that information contained in the court document is graphic and may be offensive to some. The affidavit gives police accounts from interviews from witnesses and thus may only reveal one side of the matter.

Sometime after April 13, John Hodge told police he had information on the disappearance and death of Hall. Indiana State Police Sgt. Rob Bays and Crothersville Police Capt. Vurlin McIntosh interviewed Hodge on Saturday, April 21.

Hodge told police that as he was at work on the evening on April 12, he received a multi-media text message on his cell phone from Garrett Gray. Hodge said the photo showed Hall between Gray and King. Hall had a swollen black eye and a large, swollen lip, Hodge said.

Court documents indicate that about 15 minutes later, Hodge received a cell phone call from Jamie Hendricks who was at the Gray residence. Hodge said Hendricks told him, "They're beatin' the h--- out of that guy". Hodge told police he could hear screaming and yelling in the background and thought he heard Hall yelling "Bitches".

Hodge said Hendricks told him Hall grabbed King in the groin and told him he wanted King to perform oral sex. Hendricks also said Hall made some comment about Gray's deceased mother. Then there was an altercation.

According to Hodge, Hendricks told him that Gray and King were beating Hall and King "went crazy on Hall." Hendricks said he saw king at one point remove his boot and began striking Hall with it.

Hendricks said this incident went on for several hours before Hall was loaded into Gray's pickup and taken to a farm lane off County Road 1025 & 800 S when Hall was left in the ditch.Hodge went to the Gray residence on Friday morning. He said Hendricks began talking about the new camouflage coat that Hall was wearing and wanted to go get the coat. Hodge said Hendricks directed him to where they had dumped Hall and when he pulled up, he saw clothes lying in the ditch. Hodge said he saw a pair of tennis shoes, blue jeans, socks and a camouflage coat.

Hodge then described seeing something in the field that he thought at first was a dead deer. Hodge said he walked towards the object and saw it was a human body. Hodge said he went back and forth a few times before he finally approached the body. Hodge sad the body was completely naked and was severely beaten. He said he recognized the subject to be Aaron Hall and that Hall was dead.

Hodge said he and Hendricks left and went back to Gray's house and told Gray they found Hall and he was dead.Hodge said Gray began vomiting and making statements of what his dad would say when he found out about this incident.

Hodge said he left Gray's house and later received a phone call from Hendricks that the body was moved, wrapped in a blue tarp and taken to Gray's garage.

According to the court document, Garrett Gray told Indiana State Police Sgt. Rob Bays and Jackson County Sheriff's Lt. Darrin Downs that Hall and King came to Gray's residence early in the evening on April 12. Gray said they were drinking beer and whiskey on the second floor of the residence when Hall grabbed King in the groin asking questions whether King had homosexual tendencies.

Gray said these comments caused King to physically assault Hall. Gray said King then left the room and Gray approached Hall to inquire it he was all right. Gray then admitted to striking Hall several times in the eye area causing significant damage.

Gray said King walked back into the room and moved Hall to the couch. According to Gray, King then straddled Hall and began physically assaulting him multiple times with his hands.

The pair moved Hall out onto the deck area of the home where both he and King assaulted Hall again.

Gray said they then dragged Hall down the wooden steps and put him in the bed of Grays Ford Ranger pickup.

With Hall, King and Gray in the bed of the truck, James Hendricks drove the truck south on Bethany Road turning east down a farm lane at the intersection of 800 S.

During the drive south, according to the court document, Gray admitted to asking Hall if he wanted to die tonight. While he said Hall could not really talk, he did hear him say that he did not want to die.

Stopping the truck on the dirt lane, Hall was pulled from the truck bed into a ditch. Gray said King assaulted Hall again and they threw Hall camouflage jacket over the top of Hall body.

Gray said he thought Hall was alive but his breathing was labored. He said Hall would take a breath of air and hold it for a long time before exhaling.

Gray admitted to going back to the scene and Hall was not at the location they left him. He said they later went out and saw Hall dead lying in the field.Gray said several days later they went back to the scene, wrapped Hall's body in a tarp and transported him to Gray's detached garage.

Coleman King was interviewed by Jackson County Sheriff's Dept. Detectives Rob Henley and Bob Lucas telling them that he want to Garret Gray's home around noon on April 12. King said he and James Hendricks, who was also at Gray's home, went to Stop-In Liquors in Crothersville. On their way back to Gray's house they picked up Aaron Hall.

King said they were all drinking beer and whiskey when Hall grabbed him in the groin asking King to perform oral sex.

King said he punched Hall then jumped on him punching him several more times. King said Gray also punched Hall while King held Hall down.

King said Gray also held Hall down while beating him. King said Hall was bleeding, his eye swollen shut and he was spitting up blood.

King said Gray dragged Hall down the stairs by his feet and his head bounced down all of the steps.

King said they loaded Hall into the back of the pick up and continued beating Hall as Hendricks drove south to the dirt farm lane.

King said they pulled Hall from the truck and left him in a ditch. King admitted to striking Hall a few more times. The trio then left Hall in the ditch.

When they returned to Gray's home, Gray started saying that they had to kill him or they will go to jail. King said Gray grabbed a shotgun when they went back to the house.

King said he and Gray went back to the place where they left Hall. King said he did not get out of the truck but didn't see Hall. King said Gray shot the gun twice into the woods and they returned to Gray's residence. (It is not clear from the court document and the postmortem exam included in the affidavit did not indicate whether Hall's body had been shot.)

King said the next day, Gray called him telling him Hall was dead. King told detectives a couple of days later, he, Gray and Hendricks removed Hall's body, wrapped it in a tarp and hid it in Gray's garage.

Gray and King are being held without bond on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter in the Jackson County Jail. Judge William Vance set Gray's trial date for Oct. 16 with a pre-trail court appearance for July 19.

King's trial date was set for Oct. 23 with a pre-trial appearance scheduled fro July 19.

Hendricks, charged with assisting a criminal act, is being held under a $25,000 bond.


Anonymous said...

Are you ready yet, AI, to do your well-deserved mea culpa? When this story broke, you were so quick to portray this sad story as justification for a "hate crimes" law because you assumed from early reports that the victim was a homosexual. Now it is clear that you were wrong. And quite to the contrary, it may have been the killers who were gay (or at least, so the victim accused).

So, AI, why no admission for being so grossly wrong on this story? Would that admission be too harmful to your cries for a poorly conceived, impossible-to-enforce law?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sorry, RiShawn, no anonymous posting here. I reported from the beginning the attack was triggered because of a perception the victim was gay, or one of the attackers perceived he thought he might be gay. If you check my original posting and subsequent interview with a family friend, I note they insisted Hall wasn't gay. Either way, it is a hate crime whether you like it or not. I've not been mistaken on this point.

Anonymous said...

these young men will be better off in the Michigan City prison. There they will experience the beatings that Mr. Hall had to endure. And even if they are not gay, they'll have lots of experiences that will "turn them out."

Anonymous said...

If you are going to try to rewrite history, AI, perhaps you ought to first cover your own tracks. Here's how you closed out your first posting on this incident:

"Will Aaron Hall's death be enough to wake up the Indiana legislature to what is happening in a society where these intolerant fundamentalists are creating an environment of hate, which leads people to commit the absolute worst crimes against a person because they happen to be gay, lesbian or transgender, or in Aaron Hall's case, simply believe he's gay?"

Clearly, you were wrong. Noone in this situation accused Hall of being gay. As another poster tried to point out for you, the situation was exactly the opposite. The person accused of being gay (maybe he even IS gay) is the one who did the beating and the killing. Yet, you dismissed that correction then; and now you try to claim consistency.

You are proving yourself to be a joke, AI. And by the way, this is not RIShawn. There does happen to be more than one person in this town who can see through your nonsense.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sorry, you are the one rewriting history. Hall's family called it a hate crime first. Police told them Aaron was killed because his attackers believed he was gay. There is nothing in the affidavit which changes that fact. Whether Hall was joking to King or not, straight men do not typically place their hand on another man's genitals and request oral sex. The attackers seek to explain their actions by emphasizing this point. The Hall family member told AI it was all over town before the arrests were made that they were using Hall's alleged homosexuality as an excuse for their killing. There is nothing in the affidavit which should disabuse anyone of that notion. I was frankly surprised the accused gave to police what amounts to a confession.

Anonymous said...

I'm with AI on this one. If you say you beat and killed a guy because he put his hands on your private area and asked for oral sex, you would naturally assume the guy doing this must be gay. If that's what caused you to kill him, how could you claim, anonymous 9:50, that he wasn't killed because the attacker thought he was gay. It seems pretty cut and dried to me.

Anonymous said...

"how could you claim, anonymous 9:50, that he wasn't killed because the attacker thought he was gay."

Quite simple. Because all the evidence points to the exact opposite.

Anonymous said... it really RiShawn? Damn fella, get on decaf or something. Who cares who was right or wrong about this? It's a tragedy on any level.

I read this twice and cried both times. They thought he might be gay and beat him to death for it, slowly.

May God have Mercy on them.

Anonymous said...

Poor poor Anonymous 9:50 AM

Anonymous said...

>They thought he might be gay and beat him to death for it, slowly.

That would seem to be AI spin on the story. Too bad for his cause that it does not match up with any of the facts in the case.

Yes, it's a sad, sad story. And it's getting sadder all the time as the homosexual community, especially AI, is trying to exploit it for their political agenda.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to see how the "gay panic" defense, even if otherwise entertained by a court, would justify a lighter charge. Arguably, a "panic" reaction immediately upon the alleged crotch grabbing, possibly......but for the panic to continue throughout all of the rest of the drawn-out events....pretty far out, I would think.

Anonymous said...

"Hodge said Hendricks told him Hall grabbed King in the groin and told him he wanted King to perform oral sex."

"King said they were all drinking beer and whiskey when Hall grabbed him in the groin asking King to perform oral sex."

If some guy grabbed my penis, I would no doubt defend myself. However, I don't think I would go so crazy as to continue to beat the guy. This sounds like a clear case of involuntary manslaughter.

Anonymous said...

"Either way, it is a hate crime whether you like it or not. I've not been mistaken on this point."

How is this a hate crime? The perps did not just decide to beat the guy because he was gay or they thought he was gay. They beat him because he physically grabbed another guy in the penis. Are you saying this type of behavior is ok?

Anonymous said...

5:27, nobody said it was "ok" to make an unwanted grab at a man's crotch. What is not ok is to receive the death penalty for it.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Jeff. So how does this become a "hate crime?" If it is, then aren't ALL crimes "hate crimes?"

Anonymous said...

OK, I must be missing something here:

A man questions another's sexuality, which obviouosly means he thinks the guy is gay. A fight erupts, which turns into a massive deadly beating.

You can be pro/anti hate crime laws, but the above facts don't appear to be in question.

This man was brutally murdered because the question of sexuality was in the air.

And, if you favor hate crime laws, this absolutely qualifies.

May he rest in peace. What a horrid death. And what a sordid tale of murder/coverup. The perpetrators are void of souls. Hopefully, they'll seek and receive God's mercy.

Anonymous said...

5:50 is right, in as much as all crimes involve some level of hate. And this one clearly had a lot of hate involved.

But the problem with "hate crimes laws" is that they consider only the supposed hate that is directed towards certain classes of victims. And specific to the interest of this blog, they would add penalties for supposed hate that led to a crime against a homosexual.

The problem in this case is that the victim was not a homosexual. Nor is there any evidence that the killers thought he was a homosexual. Quite to the contrary, the evidence suggests that the killers might be homosexual.

Bottom line is we may never know. Nonetheless, these killers already face the possibility of the death penalty. So what more would a "hate crime law" do, even if it was applicable?

Meanwhile, I see that AI still cannot admit that he called this situation incorrectly from the start. That unwillingness highlights what will likely be another tragedy of this event - homosexual activists who will distort this incident for their own political agendas.

Anonymous said...

He looks like a homosexual to me. He sounds like a homosexual from his groping actions. The only activist distorting this incident for their own political agenda, is you.

I don't remember any straight guys ever saying "Suck my dick." and then feeling up the recipient. That's called a 69, and that's a gayed up insult if I've ever heard one.