tx.attys

Gabriel Paul Hall (right) confers with his court-appointed lawyers last year in a file photo.


DALLAS — Prosecutors and attorneys for a 22-year-old Filipino man who is facing the death penalty are currently in Cebu City, Philippines, to get depositions from the defendant’s relatives and other defense witnesses to present to jurors in the murder trial set for Oct. 21.

Gabriel Paul Hall is accused of stabbing and shooting to death retired Texas A&M oceanography professor Edwin Shaar, 68, who used a walker to get around, before turning to the victim’s wheelchair-bound wife, Linda Shaar, and slitting her throat inside their College Station home in October 2011.

The wife survived.

Brazos County District Attorney Jarvis Parsons and first assistant Brian Baker are seeking the death penalty for Hall, who was a senior at A&M Consolidated High School when he was arrested on capital murder charges.

The defendant was adopted from the Philippines at age 11 by local couple Karen and Wes Hall after he had spent six years in an orphanage.

One of Hall’s attorneys, Tony Odiorne, and a defense investigator will travel with Baker and Parsons to Hall’s birth country to interview witnesses connected to Hall’s background, according to a report by The Eagle newspaper.

In a deposition motion filed by Odiorne and his co-counsel John Wright, both of whom work for Texas Defender Service, Hall’s attorneys list the names of 23 people they intend to speak with — assuming arrangements can be made — and an additional 40 witnesses they may call on.

The defense team first visited Cebu City last year to track down witnesses who can give testimony about Hall’s character and childhood past that could help save Hall’s life.

The team was then accompanied by members of the Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund (FALDEF) led by lawyer J.T. Mallonga.

Mallonga told the Filipino Reporter the team will be assisted this time by FALDEF-designated lawyers based in Cebu.

According to The Eagle, interviews will be filmed and conducted much like witness testimonies in a courtroom, with the state having an opportunity to cross-exam and both sides having the ability to make objections.

Defense attorneys plan to contact and collect depositions from Hall’s father, a convicted murderer who isn’t currently imprisoned, and his mother, as well as two of his brothers, his paternal grandmother, two uncles and an aunt, according to court documents.

Other witnesses they want to interview include some of Hall’s former teachers and employees with the Children’s Shelter of Cebu, who knew Hall during his time there.

All of the witnesses the defense team plans to question have some knowledge of Hall’s life before he moved to College Station.

Attorneys are making the trip to avoid the costs of having to fly Filipino witnesses to Texas and arrange lodging.

Hall has remained silent and shown little reaction during his recent hearings as attorneys iron out their trip plans.

On July 2 was Hall’s third pre-trial hearing in a week before District Judge Travis Bryan III.

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