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GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A jury trial began Monday in the murder case of Julie Hall. Travis Hall, her husband, was charged in 2021 in connection to her disappearance.
Travis Hall, 50, faces murder and tampering with evidence charges in the disappearance of his wife, Julie Hall. He pleaded guilty in court Monday.
In opening statements, prosecutors said Hall allegedly beat Julie to death with a pipe wrench in their Georgetown apartment and then wrapped her body in sheets and put her into a suitcase. Prosecutors said video evidence shows Hall putting a heavy suitcase in their apartment complex’s trash compactor.
Williamson County prosecutor Mike Waldman said the compacted trash was taken to a Creedmoor dump where police searched but Julie’s body was never found.
Hall’s defense acknowledged that this is not a typical case for the jury. They said this is not a case of whether Hall did it but a case of proper punishment. They said the murder was not planned out but rather due to “sudden passion,” and that mitigation evidence will show Hall was “shooting from the hip.”
Waldman said the date of the murder was the couple’s 27th wedding anniversary. They alleged that Travis booked a hotel room in the Houston area — hours before the time they believe Julie was murdered — to visit a prostitute. Prosecutors said video evidence shows Hall and the woman at an ATM where he withdrew money.
Prosecutors also said Hall took out a $100,000 life insurance policy Feb. 5, 2021, with premium payments and Hall as the beneficiary.
At the time of the murder, Waldman said Hall was on felony probation for previous theft charges.
Julie was reported missing in February 2021 after she was last seen at her apartment and did not show up to work as a Hutto ISD special education aide.
The arrest affidavit said Hall lied multiple times about Julie’s whereabouts and his actions leading up to and after her disappearance. The affidavit also said Hall deleted texts from his phone that detailed an affair he was having, and he used Julie’s phone to send texts to lie about her status to her family.
Texas Rangers also found a handwritten letter in the couple’s apartment that said “I’m sorry! I killed your mother in her sleep.” The letter was signed, “Dad.” Hall told investigators the letter was for a book he was writing.
During a search, investigators found blood spatters in the apartment and evidence of a cleaning agent used. Detectives found a pipe wrench with blood. Hall told them it was his wife’s blood from when she cut herself helping change a drill bit.
Hall was charged in June 2021 and faces a murder charge and two tampering with evidence charges. Hall was booked in the Williamson County jail Feb. 26, 2021, on a $1 million bail for the murder charge and two $500,000 bail amounts for the tampering charges.