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Feds nab Letcher man after his 70-year term in state prison paroled

A Letcher County man who shot and kidnapped his ex-wife 21 years ago then slid down the courthouse flagpole to escape from jail, was paroled from prison last week only to be taken into custody immediately by federal authorities.

Donald Ray Hall, now 61, was rearrested April 1 by U.S. Marshals and lodged in the Pike County Jail. It is not clear what charges he is facing, but he was indicted on federal weapons charges in 2001, a few months after his arrest for kidnapping and assaulting his ex-wife.

Hall was under a protective order when he allegedly broke into his ex-wife’s home on June 18, 2000. Police at the time said Melissa

Hall fired a warning shot from a 9mm pistol, but Hall took the gun away from her and beat her with it before dragging her out of the house and into the driveway, where he told her he was going to take her to a nearby cemetery and kill her. The couple’s 11-year-old son was home at the time of the assault. He climbed out a window and ran to a neighbor’s house and called 911.

According to authorities, Hall dragged her to the backyard of a nearby mobile home and fired several shots, hitting her once in the leg. Hall then fled into the woods.

He was indicted the following week on charges of first-degree assault, kidnapping with serious physical injury, first-degree burglary, first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree stalking, theft by unlawful taking of a firearm, and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. While in the Letcher County Jail, he use plyers that had been thrown to the roof of the courthouse to cut the chain-link fence around the recreation area, then slid down a flagpole to escape.

A jury convicted him in September 2001 and he was sentenced to 90 years in prison, which was later reduced to 70 years on appeal. He was released on parole after serving less than 21 years.

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