Hike sentence

Quincy Allen death sentence overturned by judges

COLUMBIA, SC — A ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned the death sentence for a man who pleaded guilty to the 2002 deaths of two people in Richland County.

Quincy Allen pleaded guilty in 2005 to insanity in the shooting deaths of Dale Evonne Hall, 44, and Jedediah Harr, 22, and was sentenced to death by Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper Jr. Allen was given a September 1 execution date. 18, 2005, but the appeal process had to be played through the court system.

Allen’s lawyers had appealed the death sentence, saying his life should be spared due to Allen’s history of diagnosed mental illness as a mitigating factor. He had been sentenced to life in prison in North Carolina for two murders in that state, based on evidence that Allen was mentally ill.

In a 2-1 decision, the judges wrote that the South Carolina sentencing judge “considered Allen’s mitigation evidence as presented” to be an “unreasonable determination of the facts and his conclusion that the judge of the sentence had considered “properly” was contrary to clearly established federal law.”

The Court of Appeal continued: “Our review of the record compels us to conclude that the sentencing court failed to consider all of Allen’s mitigating evidence.

“The fact that the sentencing judge concluded that the evidence presented did not support the existence of mitigating circumstances, despite undisputed expert testimony regarding two disorders and child abuse, shows that the sentencing judge has excluded uncontested expert testimony from the analysis.”

RELATED: Quincy Allen sentenced to death

The Allen murders have been described by law enforcement as a “murderous spree” that began with the murders of Harr and Hall in Columbia and ended with the killing of two employees at a North Carolina convenience store. North near Interstate 77.

According to reports at the time, Allen repeatedly told investigators that the murder of a convenience store clerk and customer in North Carolina was “fate” and that he was “operating under the control of the Grim Reaper”.

Allen’s lawyers in South Carolina testified about his history of abuse, dating back to when he was twelve months old, and his unstable family life. According to the testimony of Allen’s stepfather, Allen’s mother “would have sold Allen if she could have made money from him”.

Beginning in second grade, Allen’s mother repeatedly beat him and his siblings, starved him, threw him out of the house, tried to give up custody, and locked out of the family home. Before he was in ninth grade, Allen spent time in a juvenile correctional center after an incident where he brought a large glass bottle to school to “go after one of his bullies.”

According to submitted testimony, Allen began seeing mental health professionals and was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder in sixth grade. He went in and out of psychiatric hospitals seven times between the ages of 17 and 20 and made his first suicide attempt.

He attempted suicide a second and third time and became homeless at age 18. He spent time in prison for attempted car theft and attempted suicide several times before the age of 21.

On July 10, 2002, while on a break from work at the Texas Roadhouse Grill, Allen picked up Dale Hall on Two Notch Road and drove her to a secluded cul-de-sac and shot her three times. After dragging her body into the nearby woods, he bought gasoline and set her body on fire. Allen returned to the scene after law enforcement began their investigation, pretending to walk a dog atop a bridge that provided a good view of the crime scene.

On August 8, 2002, Allen got into an argument with two sisters at the same restaurant on Two Notch. The confrontation took place outside where the boyfriend of one of the sisters was in a vehicle driven by Jedediah Harr. When Allen pulled out his shotgun and attempted to shoot the boyfriend, he shot Harr in the head instead. Allen then set fire to the boyfriend’s house and the car of a colleague at the Texas Roadhouse Grill.

On August 9, 2002, Allen set a stranger’s car on fire before pointing a gun at a patron of a Columbia strip club. He then left the state and traveled to New York. Upon returning south, Allen shot and killed two men at a convenience store in Surrey County, North Carolina.

Allen was apprehended in Texas on August 14, 2002.

In North Carolina, Allen pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of armed robbery, and one count of auto theft, and received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The North Carolina court found “compelling evidence that Allen is mentally ill” and recommended psychiatric evaluation, counseling and treatment upon entering the Department of Corrections.

In South Carolina, a Richland County grand jury in September 2002 indicted Allen with two counts of murder, assault and battery with intent to kill, second-degree arson, two counts of third-degree arson degree and pointing and presentation of a firearm. On April 5, 2004, prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Allen, and a trial date was set for February 2005.

On February 25, 2005, Allen pleaded guilty to all charges and waived his right to a jury trial.

On March 7, 2005, the penalty phase of the trial began with expert testimony from a team of five specialists presenting evidence of Allen’s troubled childhood and history of mental illness as mitigating evidence not for the death penalty but for life imprisonment.

Judge Cooper sentenced Allen to death.

In his appeal, Allen argued that he pleaded guilty because the judge promised him a life sentence and if the judge did not make that promise, then his lawyers “rendered the assistance ineffective. counsel advising him to plead guilty without adequate insurance. He also argues that the court “committed various constitutional errors in weighing aggravating and mitigating factors before imposing the death penalty, including that it failed to considered all of his mitigating evidence, erroneously focusing solely on whether he was fit for execution.”

The South Carolina attorney general’s office could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court or send the case back to Richland County for a new sentencing hearing.