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Hall rejects plea offer in inmate murder case

Trial to begin week of May 17

The Fort Dodge Correctional Facility inmate accused of killing another inmate in June 2020 is nearing the start of his first-degree murder trial after he rejected a plea offer from the state for second-degree murder.

Eric Hall, 45, is accused of killing fellow inmate Thomas Andrew Daleske, 59, in Daleske’s cell at the Fort Dodge prison. Daleske was found unresponsive in his cell around 5:15 p.m. on June 14, 2020.

The State Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide by strangulation with blunt force injuries to the head, neck and chest. Court records state that there was a cord and an elastic wrapped around Daleske’s neck when his body was found.

Video surveillance at the prison shows Hall entering Daleske’s cell alone and leaving six minutes later, according to the criminal complaint. Hall also subsequently admitted to killing Daleske in an interview with agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Hall’s trial is scheduled to start the week of May 17 at the Webster County Courthouse and is expected to last about a week. The exact start date of the trial has not yet been set.

In the final pretrial conference before the trial on Monday, Hall told District Court Judge John Flynn that he rejected a plea offer made by the prosecution for a reduced charge of second-degree murder. With the first-degree murder charge, Hall faces a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole if convicted.

During the pretrial conference, the attorneys also hashed out the details of jury selection and alternate jurors.

Hall has remained in the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility since the alleged crime. He has been serving a sentence for third-degree burglary since April 2019 after a rash of break-ins at businesses throughout the state. His tentative release date was scheduled for November 2023.

Prior to his death, Daleske was serving a 45-year sentence for multiple convictions out of Warren County, including sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a child, that started in October 2000.

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