Man wrongfully convicted of 1985 murder is released from prison

Saturday, August 21st 2004, 9:55 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A man whose convictions in two 1985 slayings were overturned has been released from prison after prosecutors decided against retrying him.

A judge agreed Wednesday to prosecutors' request to dismiss the case against Harold Hall, 37, who had been sentenced seven years ago to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

``Various reasons, including the passage of time and the unavailability of a potential witness, forced us to make this request,'' the district attorney's office said in a statement.

Hall, who maintained his innocence for years, expressed relief and said his perseverance finally paid off.

``I've learned that you've got to have patience, and you've got to be determined,'' he said. ``It's just been a long, long ride. It's been an experience, one that I would not wish on anyone.''

Hall was convicted in 1992 of the stabbing deaths of Nola Duncan, 35, and her brother, David Rainey, 26.

Authorities said Hall confessed to the killings but at his trial he took the stand and declared his innocence. He also confessed to a multiple gang shooting in which five people died in 1984, but charges were dismissed after he testified for the prosecution.

An appeals court reversed his conviction in Rainey's death for lack of evidence in 1994, and last year the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted him a retrial in Duncan's slaying after ruling the confession dubious and that authorities used a questionable jailhouse informant.

Hall said he is considering filing a civil suit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the city.

``What they took from me, I can't get back,'' Hall said. ``The thing is to move forward, to enjoy what I have now.''