At attorney representing Megan (aka Magen) Hall appeared before an Orleans Parish judge last week for the latest pre-trial conference in the upcoming murder trial in the death of Pottsville businessman Patrick Murphy.
And although the case is technically in a “trial position” we’re no closer to an actual trial because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to court records, attorney John Fuller appeared via “virtual courtroom” on Aug. 12 for a pre-trial conference. It was the second pre-trial conference in this case since July 1.
However, there are no criminal jury trials taking place in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, due to ongoing restrictions caused by the pandemic.
Patrick Murphy Murder Trial in New Orleans on Hold Indefinitely
Hall faces life in prison if she’s convicted of second-degree murder for her role in Murphy’s death. A trial date couldn’t be reached late last year due to scheduling conflicts and any plans for a trial at the beginning of 2020 were wiped out by the pandemic response.
It did appear that courts were slowly beginning to reopen in Orleans Parish. But on Aug. 10, courts were ordered closed once again when two sheriff’s deputies tested positive for the virus, according to a report from WDSU-TV. Courts reportedly reopened on Monday but only on a limited basis. No jury trials are being held.
Previously, a court spokesman told The Canary that Hall’s trial likely would face delays due to the complications of witnesses traveling from out-of-state to Louisiana.
Lengthy Pre-Trial Prison Stay
As of Tuesday, Hall’s been in an Orleans Parish prison for 534 days awaiting trial. She’s being held on $750,000 bond. Back in April, her attorneys petitioned to have her bond reduced but that was denied.
In addition to second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence upon conviction, Hall faces charges of armed robbery and obstruction of justice.
Hall is accused of stabbing Murphy to death inside Room 110 at the Empress Hotel in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood back on Feb. 28, 2019. His body was discovered the morning after the two reportedly checked into the hotel.
Hall has a criminal past linked with prostitution. Witnesses staying at the Empress Hotel that night report hearing a verbal argument between Hall and Murphy.
Murphy was reportedly in New Orleans with his wife on their way back from a business trip to Arizona.
The same night they checked in together at the Empress Hotel, Hall was seen on surveillance cameras leaving the hotel alone.