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Ligonier man gets 2 life terms for double slaying

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Eric J. Hall

Eric Hall offered no explanations or apologies on Tuesday as family members of two people he was convicted of killing told him repeatedly to suffer throughout his life in prison.

Hall, 30, of Ligonier was sentenced to two life prison terms for the Aug. 28, 2011, killing of Anthony Henderson and Noel Richards in a Washington Township house they shared.

“I want Eric Hall to feel the hopelessness and depression we all feel here today,” said Richards' uncle, Matthew Mincucci. “I want him to feel helpless as horrible things happen to his family members and he can't be there to help them.”

Hall was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder after a two-week trial in September.

The prosecution contended Hall drove to Washington Township to rob Henderson, who he believed was a drug dealer with large amounts of money in his home.

Police said Hall shot Henderson twice in the head and once in the chest, then beat him with a baseball bat. Hall shot Richards three times, including a bullet in each side of her head.

Three witnesses who went to the house to purchase drugs said Hall was crazed and attacked them with a baseball bat minutes before the bodies of Henderson and Richards were found.

Hall was quickly linked to the slayings.

Henderson's wallet was found a day later on a street a block from Hall's Ligonier home, which is more than 30 miles from Washington Township.

The prosecution said Henderson and Richards were killed by the same 9 mm handgun and that Hall had access to a similar gun that he admitted he threw into the trash a week after the killings.

A video from a Unity Wal-Mart showed Hall purchasing supplies, then cleaning blood from his car in the store's parking lot.

Hall testified during his trial that he was not the killer and had stumbled upon the murder scene when he went to Henderson's home to buy drugs.

He declined to make a statement during his sentencing hearing.

Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway said Hall should be punished for both murders.

“It was so senseless, Mr. Hall. Obviously you were planning to rob them. Couldn't you find a way to rob them without killing them?” Hathaway said.

Family members of Henderson and Richards packed the courtroom. Several made statements that expressed the anger and sorrow they still are feeling.

“Words cannot express the sadness and loneliness a mother feels when she looks at her son's name on a headstone,” said Theresa Mele, Henderson's mother. “I feel like I've been robbed, and my life will never be the same.”

Richards' mother, Cara, said she still has nightmares about her daughter's death.

“I ask God for forgiveness for myself because I will never forgive Eric Hall,” she said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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