My name is Brian Hall, and I was sentenced to 159 years for taking the lives of two men on April 16, 1993. I was 17 years old at the time of my offense. I am 45 years old as of writing this today.
28 years ago, I made a terrible split-second decision that resulted in the death of two young men. In that moment I wasn’t thinking about the consequences of my actions or the affect it would have on my life and the life of all who were impacted by my actions. I just wasn’t thinking, I was reacting. As a teenager, I felt lost, and I lacked the ability to process my emotions and make good decisions. As I often reflect on my past actions, I know I could have avoided the entire situation had I made better choices that night, but I know I cannot undue the past, so I focus on the present.
Whether I serve 15 years, 50 years or the rest of my life in prison, at the end of each day, those two young men are still dead, and I am still responsible for their deaths. Their families still suffer, my family still suffers, and I suffer knowing I am the cause of so much harm to so many lives. No matter how remorseful I am for the pain that I caused, I cannot change my actions from that tragic day 28 years ago. Acknowledging this, I choose to focus on what I can change, which is myself. I wake up each day making a conscious effort to be a better man, a better husband and father, a better friend and co-worker, and more recently a grandfather. Saying I am sorry for my actions could never convey the depth of my remorse but living my life in a way that reflects my growth and respect for life does.
People will come before you and say I should remain in prison for the rest of my life. They will say I am a danger to the public, and that I deserve to die for my actions. I can understand those feelings and concerns. I often wonder if those same people were able to separate the man I am today, from the act I committed as a teenager, would they still feel the same way? If those people had the opportunity to get to know me as a person, see who I have become, would they still want me to die in prison?
I have met a lot of people during my time in prison. There is truth in the saying "good people sometimes do bad things". Does that mean they will always do "bad things"? No. People can and do change, but it takes a conscious effort to do so, and sometimes people need the right tools and resources to achieve that change. The right programs and education do make a difference. Addressing past trauma does make a difference. I have taken every opportunity to program and participate in activities that further my rehabilitation throughout my incarceration because I want to be a better man.
We mature, we learn, we become who we choose to become, and we just want to be seen for who we are today, and not under the shadow of our past actions.
SB114, if passed, would allow me an opportunity for parole review before my 70th birthday. It gives me hope that I might have a chance to continue giving something positive back to the community.
If I had the opportunity to stand before the parole board today, it is my hope that they would see me for who I have become and the potential for who I will be tomorrow.