Updated: Wed, Nov 20, 2013, 5:34 am
Uploaded: Thu, Nov 14, 2013, 12:41 pm
Cody Hall deemed 'potential threat to human life,' remains held without bail
Enters plea of not guilty to all charges
The young driver who ran down and killed a bicyclist on Foothill Road will remain in jail without bond after a judge ruled at a Thursday morning bail hearing that the teen posed "a potential threat to human life."
Cody Hall's attorney had asked for a bail of $150,000, but the prosecution argued that the threat existed based on a history of speeding. In one case, Hall was cited by police after being clocked at 70 mph on Foothill Road, the same place the fatal crash occurred, according to assistant District Attorney Sharon Carney.
"He also had been in a collision in August, 2011," Carney told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jacob Blea III. "He was fully aware of the speed limit."
Carney said in that crash, Hall rear-ended another vehicle as it neared Foothill High School. The prosecutor also cited three instances in which Hall, who turned 19 while in custody, posted on social media accounts, including one in which he claimed to be driving 140 mph on Interstate 5 and said, "I can't control myself." In another post, Hall said he was driving 100 mph on W. Las Positas Boulevard, Carney added.
In addition, Carney noted that the investigation had turned up two vehicles that were totaled but were not reported to police.
Hall was originally arrested for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and reckless driving with serious injury following the June 9 crash that killed bicyclist Diana Hersevoort, 58, of Dublin and left her husband, another rider, with a broken leg.
Carney told the court that Hall had crossed a double-yellow line to pass two cars, both times causing oncoming traffic to slow down.
In the second incident, court documents show, Hall was traveling 83 mph, more than twice the speed limit, when he lost control while pulling back into his lane, where he fatally struck Hersevoort and her husband before hitting a pole.
Charges against Hall were upgraded to murder in August. At an initial hearing, Judge Hugh Walker said Hall had "dug a hole so deep, I don't think he can get out of it," and order that he be held without bail.
Defense attorney Timothy Rein attempted to have the bail lowered, claiming that the evidence was available when the initial charges were filed, when Hall was released on a $100,000 bond. Rein also said a no-bail hold only applied in specific cases.
"This is not a capital case," Rein told the court. "It would appear that bail would be permissible."
In making his ruling Thursday, Blea said "the persuasive evidence of speed" qualified Hall as a threat.
Hall entered a plea of not guilty to all counts. He's set for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 5.
Hersevoort's two daughters were at the bail hearing Thursday morning in Pleasanton, but declined to comment. About a half dozen of Hall's friends and family members also attended the hearing.
Posted by Still Laughing,
a resident of Happy Valley
on Nov 18, 2013 at 11:04 am
That's a fair question, Sam. But you must realize I'm unprepared to give you any kind of definitive reply. For I, just like you and all the other posters, don't have enough facts at hand. Unlike you, I'm doubtful that a second-degree murder charge will stick. But I also doubt it will go to trial. The charge will be bargained down, and I suspect the kid will get no more than 3-5 years, perhaps much of it suspended.
Here are some factors that I may be wrong about. Since we're just gassing here.... I don't think the kid planned to kill or injure anyone that day. I don't think the kid is a killer. My guess is that if this kid pulled even one wing off of a butterfly back when he was 6 years old we would have heard about that and how it indicates the kid is a cruel, ruthless, sadistic killer.
The kid is incredibly stupid. Well, I ask: How could anyone be so stupid? But then I reflect back on some of the stupidity I engaged in, and my friends engaged in, which could have ended in the loss of someone's life. Speeding, racing, doing car stunts, throwing snowballs at cars, to name only a few. Luckily, no one was hurt, and most of my friends and I grew out of that particular phase of stupidity. Here is where I think the findings of neuroscience are interesting, and potentially helpful in understanding Cody Hall, his conspicuous lack of good judgment, combined with his home environment.
Before jumping to any hasty conclusions about this kid, I'd like to know/ask several of the following questions. Was the kid abused at home? How badly, and for how long? Did society, and particularly those assigned to his personal welfare -- teachers, counselors, social/health workers, doctors -- know about the abuse and attempt to intervene? Is there any record of attempted suicides or acts of self-destruction in this kid's background? These are important questions, I think, because it's conceivable to me that this out-of-control kid may well have been lashing out at perhaps anything and everything, such was his anger and despair.
I cite human development theories only because they emphasize the importance of familial and community support for a child's development. It would not surprise me that Cody Hall was getting no support, from anyone.
I'd like some kind of elaborate cat-scan given to him. It would not be at all surprising that a serious brain deficiency might be visible. This, compounded with (perhaps) child abuse (sexual? physical? verbal?) sustained (possibly) over a long duration of time, might begin to provide us with some understanding of the kinds of difficulties this kid had, and the difficulty he no doubt had processing such at his particular stage of mental growth.
At this point, I see the kid as very stupid, very immature, perhaps very traumatized by his environment, and very alone. He seems unable to empathize with others (but that's true of all Republicans, so that may be no great shakes - aiming for humor here). But seriously, were I a prosecutor, I'd order some basic tests to see what kind of a 'responsible' person I'm prosecuting. No conclusions, no prosecution, no recommended sentences until the tests and background checks have been completed.
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