Hurricane Ida has forced the latest delay in the murder trial of the woman accused of killing Pottsville businessman Pat Murphy back in 2019.
According to information from the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Orleans Parish District Attorney, the expected start of that trial will not happen this coming Monday, Sept. 27. On Sept. 20, Megan Hall appeared in court, virtually, where the trial date was vacated.
“Jurors will not be available,” reads Hall’s prisoner docket.
Hall stands accused of murdering Murphy in a New Orleans hotel room back on Feb. 28, 2019.
Pat Murphy Update: Megan Hall Murder Trial Delayed by Hurricane Ida
It’s alleged that Hall, a known prostitute, and Murphy went back to a room at The Empress Hotel in the Treme section of New Orleans that night. Police say surveillance footage from the hotel shows the two of them entering the hotel but only Hall leaving a few hours later.
Murphy’s body was discovered hours later by hotel housekeeping. He’d been stabbed several times to death, allegedly by Hall.
Hall turned herself in after she was identified as the prime suspect in the murder and has been in an Orleans Parish jail cell ever since, awaiting trial.
This is only the latest trial date setback in the Murphy murder case. Previous delays have been blamed on scheduling conflicts between Hall’s attorneys and the District Attorney’s office in Orleans Parish. Then, in 2020, the COVID pandemic shut down criminal court activity there. COVID has also caused court scheduling issues this year.
The latest delay is now being blamed on Hurricane Ida, which came ashore close to New Orleans on Aug. 29. According to a NOLA.com report, there are still issues in the city on account of the hurricane. Apparently 1 in 5 traffic signals around New Orleans still aren’t working there, as of yesterday.
Since Hall’s arrest, and as she awaits trial, a lot has changed in the case.
For starters, there’s a new District Attorney in Orleans Parish. Democrat Jason Williams won election in 2020 and took over for Leon Cannizzaro, who was in office at the time of Hall’s arrest.
Also, one of Hall’s attorney team previously, Marcus Delarge, is now a Criminal Court judge in Orleans Parish after winning election in 2020.
No new trial date has been set, according to Hall’s arrest record. During her last court appearance on Sept. 20, Hall was represented by Attorney John Fuller, who’s been her lawyer from the beginning of the case. The DA’s office was represented by ADA Matthew Derbes.
Hall will be back in court on Oct. 6 for a pre-trial conference.
When the trial eventually gets underway, Hall faces a second-degree murder charge. If she’s found guilty, she faces a mandatory life sentence. She’s also accused of armed robbery and obstruction of justice in a murder investigation, both of which carry stiff sentences.
Hall has been in jail 936 days since surrendering to police on March 3.
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