The attorneys for Rob Hall filed the motion with 4th District Judge Michael McLaughlin on Thursday, citing Idaho Code sections that allow a judge to grant a new trial when “the verdict is contrary to law or evidence.”
The 42-year-old Hall was found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Emmett Corrigan, his wife’s boss, on March 11, 2011, in the parking lot of a Meridian Walgreens, because Hall suspected they were having an affair — which turned out to be true.
Hall’s attorneys continue to say that Corrigan shoved Hall that night and that a handgun fell out of Hall’s sweatshirt pocket during the struggle. Hall’s attorneys also say that if Hall did fire a gun, he has no memory of that happening, but would have done so in self-defense.
That all played out over two weeks of testimony. A jury of seven women and five men heard from more than 60 witnesses and examined more than 150 evidence exhibits during the trial.
Jurors then deliberated for about eight hours before determining that although Hall did not exhibit the premeditation needed for first-degree murder, he did have the “malice aforethought” — knowledge beforehand that an act is illegal — when he shot and killed Corrigan.
Hall’s attorneys claim that the verdict is bogus.
Defense attorney Deb Kristal wrote in the motion that “the State has no eyewitness to the actual shootings nor can events be explained conclusively by the physical evidence. However, the evidence is entirely consistent with a struggle or fight taking place and that Corrigan was the initial aggressor.”
The motion goes on to say that “a trial court must enter a judgment of acquittal if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction of such an offense or offenses.”
The motion does not include any new evidence.
A hearing on the motion is set for Nov. 29. Attorneys with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, who handled the case since Hall was a former employee of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, will file a written response and will argue against the motion during that hearing.
Last month, prosecutor Jason Spillman praised the jury for its thorough work and for determining that Hall was guilty of murder.
Boise-based attorney David Leroy, a former Idaho attorney general and lieutenant governor, said: “It’s highly unlikely a judge would substitute his or her judgment over the finder of facts, without an observable legal defect or a procedural irregularity. The utility of this (motion of acquittal) might be to flesh out the appellate record, another opportunity to frame arguments for an appeal later.”
Defense attorney Rob Chastain made the same argument that’s in the motion in the middle of the trial, after prosecutors finished presenting their case, saying evidence did not indicate that Hall did anything criminal.
McLaughlin disagreed, saying that prosecutors had provided jurors with substantial evidence, including the fact that Rob Hall’s DNA was found on the trigger of the handgun.
“If it is the same motion, it’s weaker the second time,” Leroy said.
The sentencing hearing for Hall, who could be sent to prison for life, was supposed to be in December but has been pushed back to Jan. 3 to give both sides more time to work on the case.
A jail uniform-clad Hall sat quietly at the defense table Thursday while the motion was being discussed. Unlike the trial, the courtroom was mostly empty.
Kandi Hall, Rob Hall’s wife and a key figure in both the night of the shooting and the trial, was in the courtroom Thursday. She was not present on Oct. 25 when the jury found her husband guilty.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Orr