Archive for Friday, June 8, 2007

MySpace page may offer insight on suspect

June 8, 2007

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— A man with a page on the popular Internet networking site MySpace.com bears a striking resemblance to Edwin R. Hall, the man accused of kidnapping and killing a teenager, and describes his interests as "eating small children and harming small animals," photography and painting.

The author describes himself as a "Sweet Troubled Soul."

The man said his favorite movies are "anything that pushes the envalope, A clockwork Orange, Srangeland and lets not forget horror movies!!!! yea scary (or cheesy)like."

He uses only the name "Jack," which Hall is known by to neighbors. The person on the MySpace page also uses the same age and location as Hall, and a person with the same name as his wife, Aletha, has a page linked to "Jack's" profile.

In a photo on the page, the man is posing with a young boy. Neighbors said Hall and his wife have a 4-year-old son.

The existence of the MySpace page was first reported by someone who posted a link to it on The Kansas City Star's crime blog.

"Jack" lists his occupation as millwork specialist and his heroes as Batman and "my dad" - whom he then describes with a mild expletive.

He said he might "want to own my own company someday."

Brian Burgess, spokesman for the Johnson County district attorney's office, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment on the page.

MySpace issued a statement Thursday night saying the Web site was cooperating with the investigation. "We are available 24/7 to assist law enforcement in their continued investigation and have preserved all information related to the profile in question," the company said.

By Thursday evening, "Jack's" page had more than 200 postings from people hurling invective at Hall. "Aletha's" page also had many postings - most in sympathy but many accusatory - before the page was made private that evening.

Hall, 26, was charged Thursday with premeditated first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith and aggravated kidnapping for her abduction Saturday from a Target store parking lot. Hall's bond was set at $5 million.

Neighbors turned him in

Hundreds of tips were received and eventually led police to Hall, who lives with his family in Olathe. He was arrested Wednesday, the same day Smith's body was found in a wooded area near Grandview, Mo., about 20 miles east of the Target store. Authorities did not say how Smith died.

One of the tipsters was Hall's next-door-neighbor, Cameron Migues, who said he and his wife laughed when they noticed a resemblance between Hall and the man pictured on surveillance video broadcast by local media outlets. But they realized that the situation was far more serious after video of the suspect's vehicle was released.

"We put two and two together," said Migues, who called a police hot line Wednesday morning.

He said he noticed detectives outside Hall's house Wednesday in unmarked cars.

"I knew why they were here," he said. "I knew what was going on."

One day earlier, Migues said Hall's son had been in Migues' backyard playing with his 3-year-old son. Migues said he hasn't seen Hall's wife or son since then.

He said the men often talked about cars, noting Hall was often working on his own and other people's vehicles.

"He was an all-right guy," Migues said. "I had no issues with him. If he had a problem with a car he couldn't figure out, I'd go over."

Arrest is surprising

On Thursday, uniformed officers walked in and out of Hall's cream, ranch-style house. Yellow police crime tape surrounded the property, where neighbors said Hall had lived for several months.

Michael Young, 49, who lives near Hall, said Hall began selling scrap metal a couple months ago to make extra money for his family.

"I never dreamed that he would do something like that," Young said. "They couldn't kill him a hundred times for the pain he inflicted on that family."

One neighbor said Hall also worked at a warehouse.

Another neighbor, Harold Barry, 50, said he was surprised when he heard Hall had been arrested.

"If I can go see him, I will see if I can help him out," he said.

He also said Hall seemed especially close to his son.

"He loved his son his so much," Barry said. "He had his small kid in that truck every time I saw him."

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