NARYSTOWN – Saying a man from West Norriton targeted a vulnerable victim, a judge sent a man to jail for more than ten years for raping a woman at gunpoint in Norristown Farm Park.
“There are many aggravating factors in this case,” Montgomery County Judge Thomas S. Branka said Wednesday, sentencing Mason Alexander Hall to 13 to 32 years in prison for the August 1, 2017 sexual assault on a one-year-old woman in the park. in Western Naritan.
“This accused chose a vulnerable stranger. He decided to use a gun to commit his violent crime, ”added Branko, who at one point during the day-to-day sentencing hearing described Hall’s behavior as” corrupt. “
Hall, 22, of Palmer Road 2000, also has to pass a three-year probationary period after parole, meaning he will be under trial for up to 35 years.
Hall, who was 17 at the time of the attack, had previously pleaded guilty to rape, possession of a crime weapon, possession of a firearm by a minor, terrorist threats, illegal deterrence, simple assault and reckless danger to another person.
While the judge rejected prosecutors’ demands for a maximum sentence of 22 to 44 years, he handed down a sentence that was part of the aggravating range of state sentencing recommendations, and handed down sentences for each crime consistently as prosecutors requested. The verdict did provide for a maximum of 10 to 20 years on rape charges.
In passing sentence, the judge said he took into account the seriousness of the crime, the impact on the victim and society and Hall’s rehabilitation needs.
During the hearing, the victim, her parents and her brother gave emotional testimony showing that their lives had “changed forever”. The victim testified that she left the house for a “pleasant morning walk”, but the defendant stole her sense of security when he brutally attacked her.
“I deserve justice, justice for myself, my family and my community,” said the victim, now 24, adding that she had lived a life of anxiety and fear since the attack.
The victim’s father, holding back tears, told the judge, “I couldn’t be there to protect her, but this court can. I hope he gets what he deserves. He is an animal. “
Hall, who was supported in court by his parents and brother, apologized to the victim and her family before learning about his fate.
“Words can’t describe how much regret, how much shame, how much emotion I feel because of this horrible act I committed,” Hall said, pausing several times to take a deep breath. “I take full responsibility for it. What I did was horrible. I will be committed to change. I can be better and I will be better. ”
Hall’s mother told the judge, “My son is not an animal,” and described him as a caring person who in the past helped others who were less fortunate through food and toys.
District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and co-attorney Brian Ringwood advocated for the maximum possible sentence of imprisonment, essentially consecutive sentences for each of Hall’s crimes and the improvement of deadly weapons, allowing extra prison time beyond the standard range of sentences.
Prosecutors said in a memorandum of sentencing that Hall had committed “the most horrific and intimate of crimes other than murder,” the brutal rape of a complete stranger at gunpoint in a public park in the middle of the day. The impact of the Hall attack swept the community, and when news of the incident became public, the sense of security and safety of those using the park was shaken, prosecutors said.
“The only way to protect the public is to stay behind bars,” Steele said.
Prosecutors added that Hall continued to engage in criminal activities, even while in jail awaiting trial. Last month, authorities accused Hall of conspiracy to smuggle illegal drugs into the county jail, and he is currently awaiting trial on those charges.
Dr. Lisa Young, who conducted a psychosexual assessment of Hall on a court order, testified that he was “above average risk of recidivism,” feels his rights and feels that the rules and the law have nothing to do with him.
“The only explanation for the defendant’s malicious attack on a complete stranger is the need to satisfy his desire for sexual violence and exercise full control over a vulnerable member of the public,” Steele and Ringwood said in their memorandum of sentence.
Evidence showed that Hall claimed to have become addicted to viewing rape pornography for several months before the attack. Hall allegedly claimed to have watched such pornography hours before the attack.
Dr. Frank Datilio, a psychologist who rated Hall as a defense, concluded that Hall meets the diagnostic criteria for sexual sadism disorder, which is characterized by sexual arousal as a result of other people’s suffering. However, Datilia argued that Hall was treatable, disagreeing with a prosecution expert who argued that there were no studies that would show that sexual sadism was a curable disease.
Attorney Alan L. Sodomsky argued that Hall’s young age and mental immaturity at the time of the incident, as well as his potential for rehabilitation, justified the sentence in accordance with state sentencing principles. Sodomsky asked the judge to impose an appropriate sentence in the appropriate range, “but not more than necessary.”
“The maximum number of successive sentences demanded by the Commonwealth will deprive Mr. Hall of the opportunity to rejoin society as soon as he becomes a significant and productive adult,” Sodomsky wrote in a memorandum of sentence.
The investigation began around 10:50 a.m. Aug. 1, 2017, when the victim, “crying and hysterical,” called 911 and reported that she had been raped by an unknown man as she was walking down Stony Creek Road between Upper and Lower. Farm Park is a road in the western part of the park, according to a criminal case.
“The suspect grabbed the victim from behind, wrapping his left arm around her neck. The suspect then attached a semi-automatic pistol to her right temple and told her to keep going, otherwise he would shoot her, ”the operatives wrote in a statement about the arrest.
Hall, who hid his identity with a ski mask and hooded sweatshirt, led the victim to a secluded pasture, where, according to evidence, sexual assault took place.
Initially, investigators inspected the park, used a dog-tracker, viewed video surveillance from the area and transferred the found DNA to law enforcement databases containing information about known sex offenders. But none led to the match.
In January 2018, Steele announced that the DNA of the alleged perpetrator had been transferred to Parabon NanoLabs Inc., of Reston, Virginia, for “phenotype analysis,” which allowed authorities to produce a DNA-generated composite illustration, the scientific appropriation of a likely suspect. appearance. Steele called it a “sketch of a high-tech police artist.”
Authorities then used advanced genetic genealogical research, “family DNA or partial coincidences,” to identify living or deceased distant relatives of an unidentified perpetrator.
Detectives questioned a number of these individuals and approached the perpetrator, and identified two local suspects, including Hall, who matched the general characteristics of the victim.
During the investigation, detectives also learned that Hall was involved in an unrelated incident on September 23, 2017 in Norwich, during which officers found a bloody hammer that Hall allegedly admitted to using to break the car’s headlights, according to a criminal complaint filed by the county. Detective Walter Kerr.
On Sept. 27, district detectives confiscated a bloody hammer from Norristown Police and handed it over for DNA analysis. The DNA profile developed from blood on a hammer was compared to the DNA profile of a sexual assault offender, and this led to Hala as the attacker.
After a two-year investigation, Hall was arrested when he was 19 years old.
“You will have a hard time for the rest of your life,” Branko said in a farewell comment to Hall, adding that the rape sentence would follow him for life. “Let it go. You have to admit that you are a convicted rapist. ”