Mississippi teens accused of killing mother speak

MAGNOLIA, Miss. — Family and friends of two teens arrested in the murder of their mother came together over the weekend for prayer.

“It was rough.”

“Do you wish you could take back what happened?”

“Yes.”

Fourteen-year-old Amaryionna Hall and her younger sister were arrested and accused of killing their mother Ericka Hall in January 2019.

“What can you tell me about that day?”

The girls didn’t want to talk on camera about the incident, but were adamant that they were not responsible for their mother’s death. They claimed they were at their aunt’s house at the time.

The older sister even stated there was abuse going on in the home.

“Were you abused?”

“Yes. By my mama.”

But the Pike County Sheriff’s Department said they never received any reports of abuse.

Pike County Sheriff’s Chief Investigator Chris Bell also testified that the girls confessed to planning the killing in advance, faking a knock at the front door to lure Ericka Hall from her bedroom. The 14-year-old told Bell that she stabbed Ericka Hall, then her sister shot her, and the 14-year-old stabbed her again. Her sister later found her in the grass beside her car.

″‘We planned it’ is what (the 14-year-old) said,” Bell testified.

Ebony Hall, Ericka Hall’s sister, said one of the girls tried to run over their mother in a car on New Year’s Eve, four nights earlier. Ericka Hall called the sheriff’s office that night complaining about “unruly children,” Bell said. Deputy Alex Miller responded, testifying that Ericka Hall didn’t directly tell him about the attempted rundown. Miller said he didn’t call Child Protective Services or file a report, concluding both were unnecessary.

Attorney Greg Malta said he’s going to defend the girls on a theory that they used self-defense.

Malta suggested Ericka Hall threatened the girls, saying, “I’ve got a gun. I’ve only got two bullets but I only need two bullets.”

Ebony Hall said she never heard such a statement and dismissed it as hyperbole.

“I think she was just mad,” Ebony Hall said. “She was afraid, too. They tried to run her over.”

Malta focused on the questioning of the girls in the early hours of Jan. 5, suggesting neither was capable of giving informed consent to Bell. The investigator testified that the 14-year-old first opened up to her father, Eddie Isaac, before repeating the story to Bell. Isaac, though, denied that after court.

“He talked to them without my consent,” Isaac said.

The father said he doesn’t believe the version of events put forward by authorities and Ericka Hall’s relatives.

“They’ve got a bunch of stories and a bunch of lies and I just can’t see it happening that way,” Isaac said.

Under Mississippi law, children 13 and older accused of certain crimes are automatically charged as adults. Judges can later transfer cases to youth court, and Malta said he would probably seek such a transfer. However, District Attorney Dee Bates said he would oppose such a move.

“She’s a 14-year-old who committed a capital offense and state law says that she’s an adult,” Bates said.

Over the weekend, both girls were released from jail.

“I got em. Good lord got em,” said Issac. “I also got them some counseling coming and schooling coming. So everything is going alright so far. They are going through changes but it’s gonna be like that. They are going to be alright.”

Amariyonna Hall is awaiting her next court date. She has pleaded not guilty. The 12-year-old’s case is still being handled by youth court.

The sheriff’s department is still awaiting autopsy results on Ericka Hall. They could take anywhere from six months to a year.

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