AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Texas Third Court of Appeals threwout the five-year sentence handed down to Laura Hall, whohelped Colton Pitonyak mutilate Jennifer Cave after her murder onWest Campus in 2005.
Hall posted bond, which had been set two years ago, on Wednesdayand is free as she awaits a new sentencing trial. The court onThursday, while throwing out the sentence after finding that thestate had suppressed evidence, upheld the conviction. It wasunclear whether Hall's lawyers would continue their appeal to ahigher court.
Pitonyak was convicted of killing Jennifer Cave and partiallydismembering her body in his West Campus apartment. Below is partof Colton Pitonyak's testimony during his trial:
Hall fled with Pitonyak to Mexico after the murder. During the2007 trial for Hall, prosecutors called cab driver Douglas Conleyduring the sentencing phase. He testified to callous comments Hallmade about Jennifer Cave during a cab ride in 2006. The appealscourt ruled prosecutors suppressed evidence, namely that the cabdriver had failed to ID Hall in a photo lineup.
Last week on Feb. 11, a judge denied Hall's request to beparoled without an explanation. Back in 2007, Judge Flowers setHall's bond at $150,000, but it was not until Wednesday night thata surety bond was posted. Surety bonds are set up by a lawyer or abond company that has the assets to cover the full amount. RogerWade with the Travis County Sheriff's Office confirmed that AustinBail Bonds actually bonded Hall out.
Though no details on the terms of her bond were given, but sheis expected in court the first week of March. Because Hall'ssentence was less than 10 years old, she is eligible to be releasedon bond while her appeal for a new trial is pending.
Laura Hall's parents, who live in a small town called Tarpleynear San Antonio, would not grant an interview. Her father, Lauren,said he is not making a comment because he feels he is "doing whatis best for [his] daughter."
Lauren Hall also said that he would not tell the media where sheis staying nor how he felt about her release. In the nearby smalltown of Bandera, most people mentioned they are not too excitedabout Hall's homecoming.
The defense attorney for Laura Hall, Kenneth Mahaffey lives inAustin and effort was also made to contact him as well. Thoughsomeone was obviously home, no one would answer the door.
Jennifer Cave's mother, Sharon, releaseda statement regarding Laura Hall's release on bond.
"The release of Laura Hall was simply the exercise of her rightsunder the law," said the statement from Sharon Cave and her fianceJim Sedwick. "We remain focused on the importance and permanence ofthe appellate court's decision affirming Laura Hall's juryconviction, since the finality of Laura Hall's conviction is whatwill ultimately dictate her serving her sentence."
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