James Waybern Hall (1 Viewer)


James Waybern Hall

A.K.A.: "Big Jim"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Parricide - Apparent robberies
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: 1944 - 1945
Date of arrest: March 15, 1945
Date of birth: January 28, 1921
Perfil víctimas: Fayrene Clemmons, 19 (his wife) / Carl Hamilton / E.C. Adams / Doyle Mulherin
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA
Status: Executed by electrocution in Arkansas on January 4, 1946

Hall, James Waybern (1921 - 1946)

Killed 4 people, including his wife, in Arkansas between 1944 and 1945. Was sentenced to death in May 1945 and executed on January 4, 1946.

James Waybern Hall

Drafted by the navy in 1943, despite his best efforts to escape military service, Hall was dishonorably discharged after eight weeks of training. Back home in Little Rock, he married 19-year-old Fayrene Clemmons on March 14, 1944, but their relationship was a stormy one, marked by a brief separation in June.

On September 28, Hall paid a visit to his father-in-law, reporting that Fayrene had deserted him three days earlier. Police were notified, logging reports of the young woman's promiscuous behavior, and they closed their investigation after a week, declaring her a probable runaway. Their theory was bolstered two months later, when relatives received a Christmas card with Fayrene's signature, postmarked from Bakersfield, California, but Jim Hall "borrowed" the card and envelope before officers had a chance to examine it, and it was subsequently "lost."

On January 29, 1945, loggers discovered an abandoned car in Ouachita County, southwest of Little Rock. There was a dead man slumped behind the wheel, a bullet in his heart, identified from fingerprints as Camden barber Carl Hamilton. The victim had been dead for several days when found, but homicide detectives had no reason to connect his murder with the disappearance of a wayward spouse in Little Rock.

The toll began to mount on February 1, when E.C. Adams vanished en route to his job at a Little Rock war plant. His car was found outside of Fordyce, northwest of Camden in Dallas County, and searchers located his body in some nearby brush, a single bullet in his brain. That same day, trucker Doyle Mulherin was reported long overdue on a scheduled meat delivery, his vehicle found hours later near Stuttgart, 40-odd miles to the southeast of Little Rock, in Arkansas County. A sweep of the area turned up his body, one shot through the head, his pockets emptied of $125 in company cash.

Police were still without a suspect on March 2, when James Hall was arrested in a Little Rock bar fight, fined $106.90 on his plea of guilty to simple assault. Authorities became more interested in Hall when an acquaintance told of loaning him a car on January 28. There was a loaded pistol in the glove compartment, and a single round was missing from the clip when Hall returned the car on January 29. Ballistics tests revealed the gun had been employed to kill Carl Hamilton.

On March 9, 1945, a burned-out car was found near Heber Springs, in Cleburne County. An incinerated body was recovered from the back seat, identified from dental charts as J.D. Newcomb, Jr., late of Little Rock. A search of Jim Hall's lodgings, meanwhile, had revealed substantial quantities of ammunition and shaving gear stolen from Hamilton. Picked up near Little Rock on March 15, Hall readily confessed to the series of holdup-murders that had earned him less than $300 overall. He led detectives to the site where his wife was buried, surprised to learn a farmer had retrieved the skull months earlier. Identified from crooked teeth, Fayrene was finally laid to rest.

Convicted of murder after a two-day trial, in May 1945, Hall was sentenced to death. Escorted to the chair on January 4, 1946, he was all smiles, laughing and joking with his guards. "Boys, I'm not afraid," he told them as they strapped him in and fastened the electrodes. "I can take it."


MO: Murdered his wife, followed by three men in apparent robberies

DISPOSITION: Executed jan. 4, 1946

In the months leading up to the end of World War II, Arkansans were temporarily distracted from the news of soldiers slain in far-off lands by deaths of a different nature much closer to home.
While other men his age were fighting Nazis, James Waybern “Red” Hall was waging a war of sorts against his own countrymen. On March
15, 1945, detectives from the Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) detained the red-haired, 24-year-old cab driver for questioning in the murders of four men: Carl Hamilton; E.C. Adams; Doyle Mulherin; and J.D. Newcomb, Jr. With the exception of Hamilton, Hall had hitched rides with his victims, then robbed and killed them. Authorities also suspected Hall of murdering his second wife, Fayrene.
The LRPD and the Arkansas State Police investigated the crimes jointly. At State Police Headquarters, Hall parried lightly with his interrogators, often smiling and even laughing. Intermittently, though, he became serious and told of a difficult early life in a home shared with 11 brothers and sisters. His father, a farmer and preacher, was a strict disciplinarian. Red had a 2-year-old son from his first marriage, a marriage that fell apart because of his unwillingness to work. He joined the Navy, but was discharged after only six weeks for “indifference,” he said, adding, “I don’t know what that means.”
Tapping his head, Hall said, “Something seemed to snap up here long ago.”
Little Rock Det. Herbert Peterson repeatedly told Hall to “be a man and take the consequences,” and after two hours, Hall confessed to murdering the men and his wife.
About Fayrene, he said, “I married Faye in March last year. I was crazy about her, but we began having arguments over money. Last August, I decided I had enough of it, so I took her out to the old river road near the Riverside Golf Course, led her off into a ravine, and beat her to death with my hands. I must’ve hit her more than 20 times over the head. I didn’t do anything to hide her body. I figured vultures and other animals would soon devour it.”
Hall guided detectives to the murder site and while they were searching for Fayrene’s remains, a man who lived nearby walked up to see what they were doing. He then informed them that he had found a skull there three months earlier and had taken it home. After retrieving it for the officers, he led them to a log where he had also seen a jawbone. As the men raked through leaves, pieces of a skeleton, a mass of matted hair, and clothing remnants were uncovered. Hall identified the dress as his wife’s, and when he examined the skull and jawbone, he said, “See those crooked teeth? They used to hurt me when we kissed.”
Hall also accompanied detectives on trips to his other crime scenes and took the officers to a store in Alexandria, La., where he had sold things stolen from his victims. During the trip back to Little Rock, Hall said he had killed other people: 10 Mexicans in Arizona in 1938 and a man in Texas in 1944. When he was only 17, he killed a woman in Salina, Kansas. He had hitchhiked around the country since he was 14 years old and had visited all the states except a few in the East.
“I betcha I could get out on the highway right now and get a ride with the first or second driver that came along,” he said, bragging. “It’s all in the look you give the driver.”
He told officers the number of his victims might be close to 24. When word got out about these statements, Little Rock authorities were deluged with calls from investigators around the nation wanting to ask Hall about his possible involvement in similar murders, including a double hitchhike slaying in Kansas and at least four hitchhike-related murders in Oklahoma.
An acquaintance of Hall’s, Jackie Anthony, remembers when he and his cousin ran into Hall in Okmulgee, Okla., in 1939. It was early evening, and the two were sitting outside a store where they worked.
“We saw a guy coming down the street,” Anthony said, recalling. “Red Hall ran left-handed. In other words, he traveled sideways — the left part of his body first — and he was running, so the first thing my cousin and I thought was that maybe he had stolen something, and they were after him. He recognized us and said, ‘You boys got any money?’ We said ‘No.’ Red had nothing else to say. He took off, left foot first, and that’s the last time I ever saw him.”
Some people thought the real reason Hall killed Fayrene was because she knew too much about his criminal activities, particularly a slaying in Oregon. Motive, however, wasn’t an issue in Hall’s trial. With the physical evidence and his confession, there was no question that he had killed her, so the only viable defense was insanity.
The prosecution decided to try Hall only for the murder of his wife, theorizing no jury would have the least compunction about convicting him for such a merciless act.
Hall’s trial began just as the war in Europe was ending with Germany’s surrender in May 1945. Public emotions across the United States were a mixture of joy and relief, while inside the First Division Circuit Court in Little Rock, a somber air prevailed. The all-male jury heard Sam Robinson, prosecuting attorney, ask for the death penalty and M.V. Moody, court-appointed attorney, argue for the defendant. Hall had recanted his confession saying it was coerced, but Judge Lawrence C. Auten allowed it into evidence over Moody’s objections. Dr. A.C. Kolb, state hospital superintendent, testified for the prosecution that Hall was sane, but the State Hospital’s former superintendent, Dr. L. Brown, concluded Hall was not sane. Another former superintendent of the State Hospital, Dr. R. Rowland, told the court that Hall was a psychopathic personality, who could not refrain from doing bad things even though he knew they were wrong.
During proceedings, Hall sat casually with one leg over the arm of his chair. He laughed and chatted with bystanders during recesses, but showed no interest or emotion when his dead wife’s skull was displayed. He sobbed, however, when Dr. E.M. Ingram told the jury of delivering a stillborn child to Hall’s first wife on Christmas Day 1941. Ingram said Hall fell on the floor and had a convulsion during the delivery. Hall also cried when his father took the stand and said one of Red’s sisters and two uncles were mentally incompetent.
During summation, Moody said of his client, “The boy’s crazy.”
The jury disagreed, and after only 40 minutes of deliberation, they found Red Hall guilty and condemned him to death. After a failed appeal, he was scheduled to die Jan. 4, 1946.
Hours before his appointment with the electric chair, Hall carried on a jocular conversation with the barber who was shaving his head. For his last meal he had steak, pork chops, and strawberry ice cream. Among his visitors in the minutes leading up to the execution was Fayrene’s father who said, “May God have mercy on you. I can’t. I hold no ill will toward your folks, James.” Hall thanked him and shook his hand.
A few minutes later, the switch was thrown, and Red Hall had hitched his last ride.

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