Today (Feb. 28) marks 2 years since Pottsville businessman Pat Murphy died in a New Orleans hotel room. And justice in his case still hasn’t been served.
The murder trial for the woman accused of killing him in the early morning hours, still hasn’t happened. And according to local reports from New Orleans, it may be a while before a jury ultimately decides what happened that day back in 2019.
Megan (or Magen) Hall will have spent 2 years behind bars in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, on March 1, 2021, charged but not convicted. She’s accused of second-degree murder, robbery, and obstruction of justice in the death investigation of Murphy.
Investigators in the case say Hall, a several-times-convicted prostitute, stabbed Murphy several times in a second-floor room of the seedy Empress Hotel. She then left the hotel, alone, several hours after checking in. What happened that night will come to light during the trial but again, it may be a while before that happens.
Pat Murphy’s Death, 2 Years Later – Justice Delayed in Megan Hall Murder Trial in New Orleans
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the Louisiana court system. Criminal trials like Hall’s simply haven’t happened. And they’re not likely to get underway until at least April 1. And that’s only when prosecutors can begin to tackle a massive case backlog.
According to a report from WWL-TV, in Orleans Parish where Hall will be tried, there are more than 11,000 criminal proceedings on hold due to the pandemic. That only counts cases being handled by the public defender’s office there, which Hall’s is not.
Perhaps, though, the wait may not be long after criminal courts in Orleans Parish resume some type of in-person proceedings that Hall’s trial does get underway.
It had already been a year of pre-trial maneuvering, conferences, and scheduling conflicts that delayed the start of the trial initially. The trial was set to begin in October 2019 but was continued until early-January 2020 and continued once again until late-March. Finally, a date had been set for April 20, 2020. But by late-March, courts in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana were closed due to the pandemic.
If she’s convicted of second-degree murder, Hall faces a mandatory life sentence. The armed robbery charge carries a sentence of 10-99 years.
For the latest on the death of Pat Murphy and the murder trial of Megan Hall, check out our full coverage: