Judge boosts stabbing suspect's bond to $1.2M+ - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

'Willing to do anything and everything to leave the scene': stabbing suspect's bond now $1.2M+

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Andrew Morgan Hall's conviction for auto theft, and warrants for a pending charge of assault have caught up with him.

They're but two of the reasons Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom cited for boosting his bond to more than $1.2 million for his most recent, and most serious charges; two counts of attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of aggravated assault.

Prosecutors allege that he stabbed Loss Prevention Officers Keith Langley and Heath Hoskins last Thursday night, after they pursued him for suspicion of shoplifting from the JC Penney in Hamilton Place Mall, shortly before the store closed for the evening.

"I seen Keith jump back and fall down, holding his side," Hoskins testifies in Hall's preliminary hearing Friday morning.

Langley was stabbed in his left abdomen, just below his ribs, police reports show. Hoskins suffered wounds in his right arm and right leg, "within a half-inch of hitting my femoral artery," he testifies.

Security cameras inside Penney's and in the Hamilton Place parking lot captured the entire incident on video, Chattanooga Police investigator Daniel Francis testifies.

"The scuffle looked like a bit of a blob," Francis says.

"What kind of  knife do you think you were stabbed with," Hall's attorney, Dan Ripper, asks Hoskins.

"I don't know, I  never seen it," Hoskins replies  "I couldn't tell you 100 percent if it was a knife!"

Neither police nor prosecutors have identified any knife recovered, as the weapon used. But under cross-examination, Hoskins concedes that he and Langley carried pocket knives for protection. He denies Ripper's suggestions that either knife might have been turned on them.

"Does JC Penney's policy allow you to carry knives for protection," Ripper asks.

"I'm not 100 percent sure on that policy," Hoskins replies.

Hoskins testifies that he's certain, however, that JC Penney permits Loss Prevention Officers to pursue shoplifting suspects outside its stores

"My intent was to apprehend the subject and bring them back into the store," he says.

"With whatever that required," Ripper asks.

"I didn't say that," Hoskins replies.

Twice more, Ripper asks Hoskins to clarify his statements; drawing objections from Assistant District Attorney Ben Boyer, which Judge Statom sustains.

"He has not answered 'by whatever means necessary,' Judge Statom tells Ripper. "That part of it would call for speculation."

"I don't really understand what Penney's policies are," Ripper tells Channel 3 after the hearing. "That's why I was asking the questions."

Eyewitness News has been asking the same questions of Penney's since Monday. Store manager Marty Smith referred us to corporate media relations manager Joey Thomas. 

After failing to respond to telephone and email requests for four business days, Thomas issued a one-sentence email Friday afternoon.

"For the protection of team members and customers, we do not share our loss prevention practices and procedures."

A grand jury may get to hear them. Judge Statom has bound over his case, finding probable cause that Hall's alleged crimes were premeditated.

"You came armed with a weapon," Judge Statom tells Hall.

"And were willing to do anything and everything to leave the scene over a simple pair of blue jeans."

 

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