Annapolis, MD -- Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Wes Adams announced today that Kirk Jon Hall, 62, of Brooklyn, was sentenced by Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Laura S. Ripken to life in prison for violating his probation. Hall had been released from a sentence of life in prison for first degree murder after filing a post-conviction petition pursuant to Unger v. State, and State v Waine.
"Mr. Hall committed a heinous act of violence against an innocent young woman 42 years ago and received a just sentence of life in prison," said Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Wes Adams. "He was the beneficiary of an appellate decision that granted him a second chance. Since being released, he has proven on numerous occasions that he is either unwilling or unable to conduct himself as a law-abiding member of society."
At approximately 5:45 AM on October 31, 1976, a witness heard what he believed to be four gunshots coming from another part of his property, and drove to the area from where he heard the shots.
Upon arriving, he observed a white 1967-1968 Chrysler Station Wagon parked next to large tree and an individual standing off the dirt road. The witness yelled out to the individual, who then retreated behind some brush. Believing the individual to be a hunter, the witness did not investigate the matter further.
At approximately 11:15 AM, the witness returned to the scene and observed the body of a female lying face down in standing water. Anne Arundel County Police responded to the scene. Upon closer examination, multiple gunshot wounds were located across her body.
Police discovered a paycheck in the victim's purse identifying her as Barbara Watts, 26 years old, of Takoma Park. Detectives responded to the Watts home and notified her father of her death. He indicated he owned the station wagon and had lent her the car on October 28th.
Upon further investigation, police learned that Kirk Hall attended a house party on October 29th and stole a .22 caliber revolver from the party's host. In the early morning of October 31, Hall and the victim drove the station wagon to a field behind Bowie Race Track to use drugs.
When the two became involved in a verbal dispute, Hall began physically assaulting the victim. The situation continued to escalate as Hall picked up a stick and struck the victim on the back of her head. The victim fell to the ground and Hall observed blood coming from her head. He then used the stolen gun to shoot the victim six times before fleeing the scene.
On June 1, 1977, Hall was found guilty of first degree murder by an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury. He was sentenced to life in prison on July 27, 1977 by Judge Bruce C. Williams.
Hall was granted a new trial in January 2016 pursuant to the decisions of the Court of Appeals in Unger v. State, and State v Waine. He pleaded guilty to first degree murder on September 28, 2016 and was sentenced by Judge Ripken to life suspend all but 50 years in prison and five years of supervised probation. Hall was released on October 12, 2016.
Since being released, Hall has violated the conditions of his probation on three separate occasions. Hall was charged with theft on July 29, 2017 and September 5, 2018. He was then arrested for possession of heroin and possession of cocaine on November 2, 2018. On December 17, 2018, Hall was sentenced to the remainder of his sentence: life in prison.
Judge Laura S. Ripken presided over the case. Assistant State's Attorney Jason Knight prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.