Sentencing Delayed for Inmate Jailed for 12 Years

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Thursday postponed the sentencing of county inmate Harold Hall, who already has spent nearly 12 years in the Men's Central Jail fighting his conviction for a 1985 murder in South Los Angeles.

As Hall's family and a dozen supporters sat in the courtroom, Judge Alexander Williams III agreed to delay Hall's sentencing until Feb. 20 so attorneys for Hall could receive a new probation report that will be considered in his sentencing. The delay, the judge said, also will enable attorneys for Hall, 30, to prepare a formal motion for a new trial.

In 1985, Hall was in jail and awaiting trial on a robbery charge when he confessed to slaying seven people in two separate incidents. But he later recanted his confessions, insisting they were coerced by police. Over the years, all but one of the murder charges against Hall have either been dropped or overturned on appeal.

Attorneys for Hall hope to win a new trial in the murder of Nola K. Duncan, 35, on grounds that Hall was convicted of that crime based largely on evidence provided by a jailhouse informant--evidence that, the informant later admitted, had been altered.

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