In this police mug shot provided by the Allegany County Combined… (Associated Press )
The 21-year-old Glen Burnie man who shot and killed a Frostburg State University basketball player and wounded another was hoping that a jury would agree with his assertion that he acted in self-defense.
But hours after the jury in Allegany County Circuit Court got the case, those hopes faded. The panel told the judge they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the first-degree murder trial of Tyrone Hall, and it became clear that he would not be acquitted.
Shortly after 2 p.m. Friday, the former Mount St. Joseph soccer standout agreed to plead guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Brandon Carroll of Waldorf and to second-degree assault in the wounding of Ellis Hartridge Jr. of Washington.
Hall, who has been free on $300,000 bond and confined to his parents' home since mid-June, will be sentenced Nov. 10. Judge W. Timothy Finan said he will impose no more than an eight-year prison term.
Attorneys Will Mitchell and William Brennan, who represented Hall, said they would ask for a shorter sentence. Neither Mitchell nor Brennan would comment on the plea deal. Through Mitchell, Hall and his parents also declined to comment.
Prosecutors had been seeking convictions on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, but that seemed unlikely after the jury told Finan late Friday morning that they could not reach a verdict. According to court records, eight jurors were leaning toward a conviction for involuntary manslaughter; three wanted to convict of second-degree murder; and one juror voted for acquittal.
"Are you entering this plea knowingly and voluntarily of your own free will?" Finan asked a distraught Hall during the proceedings.
"Yes, sir," Hall answered, choking back tears,
When the proceedings ended, Hall put his head down on the defense table and sobbed. His parents, Tyrone Hall Sr. and Kim, went to comfort him.
Faye Carroll, the victim's mother, told the Associated Press that she and her family were resigned to the fact that Hall would not be sentenced for murder, but accepted the plea deal.
"We supported it because that was the only realistic option," she said.
Allegany County State's Attorney Michael O. Twigg, who argued passionately in court Thursday that Hall should be convicted of the highest charges, said he understood the impact of the case on the individuals and families involved.
"When I first got this case, I knew there weren't going to be any winners in it," he said.
Hartridge's father, Ellis Sr., agreed.
"It was no winners here today," said the elder Hartridge, who had to be treated for chest pains during Hall's 90-minute testimony Thursday.
His son sobbed on the stand as the state's first witness Tuesday when talking about Carroll and was emotional throughout the trial. He declined to comment Friday.
Juror William Dentinger, 55, of Cumberland said afterward that the jury of seven men and five women — all but one of them white — was on the verge of reaching a verdict similar to the plea deal.
"What was decided in court with counsel is actually about identically what we came to agreement on," Dentinger said.
Hall was charged April 18 with shooting and killing Carroll, 20, near the apartment where Hall lived, across the street from the campus. Carroll had gone there with Hartridge and another man after Hartridge, then 21, had called Hall and challenged him to a fight.
Hartridge told the jury that he wanted to beat up Hall after Patrice Britton, a 21-year old Baltimore woman who had dated both men, text-messaged Hartridge to say that Hall had slapped her in the face that evening. Hall and his friends testified that it was Britton who, aiming for a friend of hers, had hit Hall after she saw him dancing with the friend at an off-campus party.
Hall testified that he shot Hartridge only after Hartridge taunted him, threatened to beat him and then lunged at him. Hall said he shot Carroll when Carroll rushed toward him seconds after Hartridge had been shot.
"'I didn't know what he was going to do," Hall said of Carroll, who died at Western Maryland Regional Medical Center in Cumberland. "I thought maybe he was going to grab the gun."
Britton, who had followed Hartridge to Hall's residence in another car, testified that she saw Carroll turn to run as he was being shot. Hall and four friends who were with him at the party as well as at his residence, disputed that claim.
During his closing argument Thursday, Brennan tried to show that forensic evidence proved that Carroll had turned toward Hall as he fired.
But Carroll's stepfather doesn't believe that was the case.
"Brandon's character was a peace-loving, law-abiding, God-fearing son," Michael Stewart said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.