|Edwin R. Hall remained jailed on $5 million bond yesterday.|
Suspect in Kansas teen's slaying faced earlier charges
Pleaded no contest to threatening sister at knifepoint
TOPEKA, Kan. -- A man accused of kidnapping and killing a suburban Kansas City teenager pleaded no contest as a 15-year-old to threatening his sister at knifepoint, according to court records.
Edwin R. Hall, 26, remained jailed on $5 million bond yesterday, a day after being charged with first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in 18-year-old Kelsey Smith's abduction from a Target parking lot.
Prosecutors said yesterday that Smith was strangled with a ligature but would not say exactly what was used.
A judge ordered Hall removed from his home after he entered the plea to aggravated assault in May 1996, and he was placed in state custody, the court records state. A second charge of making a criminal threat was dismissed.
Hall's parents, Carol and Don Hall, of Emporia, didn't immediately return a call yesterday.
Carol Hall told The Emporia Gazette for yesterday's editions that the couple adopted Edwin Hall when he was 7 and knew he had problems associated with his early childhood.
Court records indicate that the boy ran afoul of police several times before the attack on his sister, a biological child of the couple, though the earlier offenses were nonviolent.
In Kansas, court files are open for crimes involving defendants who are at least 14, said Ron Keefover, spokesman for the state judicial system. A judge also can choose not to close records for defendants younger than 14.
Hall was confined in four facilities from 1996 until 1999, according to the Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority.
Carol Hall told the paper the boy did something when he was 15 that made the couple feel he was a danger to the family, which included three biological daughters. She did not provide details but said the couple felt they would have to give up on him. "That was the last time he was in our home," Carol Hall told the newspaper. The Halls hoped then that someone would be able "to get him the help that he needed," she said.
In 2002, Hall and his adoptive parents were sued by a Lyon County man who claimed Hall beat him in the back of the head with a baseball bat, court records indicate. The man sought $50,000 from the family, but the case was dismissed.
Hall, of Olathe, faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the murder charge and more than 12 years on the aggravated kidnapping count.
Phill Kline, Johnson County district attorney, said it was unclear whether the case would be tried in state or federal court.
Hall's attorney of record, Paul Cramm, declined to comment yesterday through his secretary.