A Serial Killer in the Neighborhood

Date Published 03.19.12

Larry DeWayne Hall, who is serving a life sentence on a federal kidnapping charge, is in many ways a cinematic serial killer --- bullied as a child, a juvenile bed-wetter, he even grew up on a cemetery, where his father was the sexton.  He drove a van incessantly and stalked his victims.  Some investigators believe Hall, who traveled the country as a Civil War reenactment buff, may be responsible for the disappearances and deaths of as many as 40 women and girls.

In other ways Hall is an atypical serial offender.  He’s a twin, for instance.  He’s described as having a dependent personality, and rarely displayed anger.

But the most surprising, and frightening, detail about Hall?  Despite having confessed to multiple violent crimes, including the mysterious abduction of Laurie Depies in Wisconsin in 1992, Hall has never been convicted of murder.

Christopher Hawley Martin, who grew up in the same small town as Hall, Wabash, Ind., is an ordained pastor, a musician and writer.  Martin’s interest in the neighborhood serial killer led him to write the book Urges: A Chronicle of Serial Killer Larry Hall.  After reading the book I emailed with Martin about Hall.  I was interested to know more about Martin’s thoughts on Hall’s background, his ability to evade capture, his contradictions, and what other long-unsolved mysteries might be connected to Hall.

Martin’s fascinating answers, below:

How did your interest in Larry Hall begin? Did you know Hall or his family growing up in Wabash?

My father, Richard, was a policeman in Wabash, Indiana for many years. My sister, Shirley, followed our father into law enforcement. Shirley and I had read about serial killers for decades and we had many times compared ideas on their behavior and motivations. Shirley told me sometime in the late 1980s that she was sure we had a serial killer operating somewhere in the region because there were murdered and missing women in Marion, Kokomo, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and other cities and towns in Indiana and Michigan.

I remember when Larry Hall was arrested in 1994 for the kidnapping of Jessica Roach of Georgetown, Illinois and what my sister had said about a serial killer. Jessica was found murdered in a cornfield near Perrysville, Indiana in the autumn of 1993. I knew several of the police who had had contact with Larry over the years and I talked to them about his behavior. I suspected Larry was responsible for many more murders and disappearances than most people suspected. The prosecutors and investigators I worked with concurred.

Larry and Gary Hall were Civil War reenactors and journeyed to many states pursuing the hobby. I began to research where they traveled and if there were murdered or missing women at or near the reenactment events. A chilling picture emerged ... there were many.

I believed the full story of Larry Hall had not been revealed. I had written for several magazines including Business People and North American Whitetail, so I decided to write a book telling the story of Larry Hall.

There is a very large cemetery in Wabash, Indiana named after the nearby falls in Charley Creek ... Falls Cemetery. I lived in the neighborhood as a youngster and of course, there were many myths and legends about the cemetery and the house on the grounds. The sexton and his family lived there. In December of 1962, identical twins, Larry DeWayne, and Gary Wayne Hall were born and came home to the house in Falls Cemetery. There was a problem during the birth, which resulted in Larry being deprived of oxygen.

I attended the same elementary school as the Halls and, although there is ten years’ difference in our ages, we were taught by several of the same teachers. We played in the same places, including the cemetery, Charley Creek and the nearby Wabash City Park.

As the twins grew, they were seen around town and were ridiculed and scorned because of their small stature, odd behavior and because they lived in a cemetery. I would see them in public places but I did not personally know the twins. They kept to themselves.

I first talked to Gary Hall via telephone in 2009 when I was researching the book. I wrote to Larry Hall at about the same time. He wrote back and later called me from prison. We have corresponded and spoken many times since. I last talked to Larry on March 4 and received a letter from him the next week.

I see Hall recently confessed to the abduction of Laurie Depies, a connection you touch upon as a possibility in your book. I know you think Hall is a good suspect for the Springfield Three disappearances as well. I couldn't help but notice the resemblance between Depies and Susie Streeter. If Hall is involved in the Springfield case, how do you think it came about?

Larry has admitted responsibility for Laurie Depies. He has also confessed in three other cases since the book was published.

Alone, or with Gary Hall, Larry had driven to Missouri several times over the years. The brothers reported to a meeting of their reenactment unit that they visited Battlefield in the summer of 1991 for the 130th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. That is documented. I have interviewed a family member who distinctly remembers the twins returning to Battleground in summer, 1992.

There is a resemblance between Laurie Depies and Suzanne Streeter, but I believe Larry Hall was most attracted to Stacy McCall. She closely resembles many of the girls Larry is connected to ... petite and athletic, with shoulder-length dark hair. Larry was known to stalk mall parking lots, plazas and stores looking for women. Several of the women connected to Hall went missing from those places. Hall said he spotted Laurie Depies at a store and followed her to the apartment parking lot where she was abducted.

I believe Larry Hall, either alone or with an accomplice, zeroed Stacy McCall and Suzanne Streeter some time on the night they graduated. I believe he followed them, invaded Streeter’s home, and abducted the three women.

A women from Kokomo, Indiana was killed in her home. Indianapolis police believe Larry Hall invaded the home of Michelle Dewey on July 1, 1991 and murdered her.

Hall is known to have invaded homes.

In late summer of 2011, I quizzed Larry Hall about the case of Paulette Webster who disappeared from Chester, Illinois in July of 1988. I was attempting to help her parents find some peace. Larry told me that she was taken from the main east/west road through Chester. She was. He also said she was picked up near a mobile home park. She was. He then said she was taken to a remote location where she was kept and violated sexually for three hours. Hall said she was either cast into the Mississippi River or taken further west and buried. (Paulette would not be the only girl that Larry would cast into a river.)

In the next paragraph of the letter, Hall said there were a “number” of girls buried in the Mark Twain Forest in Missouri. I had not mentioned the forest in the book, nor had the forest ever come up in conversations between Larry Hall and me. He volunteered the forest location to me, which lends added credibility to the admission.

Larry called not long after the letter arrived. I said to Larry ... “You mentioned in your letter that there are a number of girls buried in the Mark Twain Forest. Can you tell me how many?” Larry replied, “Five.” I then asked him what cities they were from. Larry replied, “Well, three of them are from Springfield.” I then asked him what cities the other two were from. Larry replied, “They were from small towns, but I can’t remember the names of the towns.”

I believe Larry. I think he is responsible for the Springfield Three, and I don’t believe he was alone in committing the crime. I believe the other two of the five he mentioned may be Cheryl Ann Kenney, who vanished from Nevada, Missouri in February of 1991, and Angela Marie Hammond, who was kidnapped from Clinton, Missouri April 4, 1991. There is an artist’s sketch of the suspect in Hammond’s case that looks remarkably like Larry Hall’s booking photo.

Larry Hall has told me he would show police where the burial sites are in exchange for immunity.

I was struck in the book by the description of Hall's acute anxiety and nervous affect. That struck me as atypical for a serial killer. One thinks of psychopaths as rarely showing fear or emotion, and often not even startling at loud sounds. What do you make of that? Do you agree that Hall may have a schizotypal personality disorder?

            I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but from the tests administered to Larry Hall from the doctors, he exhibits some of the markers of both schizotypal and dependent personality disorders. The schizotypal diagnosis means he is quiet and remote with few friends and probably fantasizes elaborately. None of the doctors were willing to say Hall was a psychopath or psychotic because he exhibited none of the behaviors associated with psychosis during interviews. I believe Hall suffers from paraphilias, which are almost NEVER diagnosed in a clinical setting.

            Hall’s dependent personality means it is unlikely he began raping and murdering on his own. He probably had at least one accomplice in that first encounter. After the book was published, Larry Hall told me he began murdering girls and young women in the summer of his high school graduation in 1981. He also said his first kill was in Lebanon, Indiana. I believe him. Debra Jean Cole went missing August 31, 1981 from Lebanon. 

Another puzzle was Hall's low I.Q --- 80, apparently --- but his ability to glean tips from true crime cases he followed and carefully think through his crimes so as to leave little evidence. Do you believe he's truly cognitively impaired? How do we explain his skill in pulling off multiple murders as what is typically thought of as an "organized" offender?

            Larry Hall is an organized serial killer with disorganized traits. I think of Larry as a savant serial killer. I compare him to Rainman, the fictional movie character. Rainman was autistic, but possessed a phenomenal ability with numbers. While not autistic, Larry Hall does have a similar challenge. Like Rainman’s numbers, Larry Hall became an expert at murder, body and evidence disposal, and covering his tracks. He was a janitor by occupation. When the FBI searched his vehicles in late 1994, they found only FIVE fingerprints in his vans. They were all his. He had cleaned them that well. He killed women from 1981 until late 1994 … about thirteen years without being caught. 

You mention in the book the possibility Hall may have had help with his crimes. How real a possibility do you think this is? Will we ever learn the truth?

            I think it is possible, even likely. In my telephone conversation with Larry on March 4, I asked Larry if he had heard from Gary. He said he had received a multiple-page hate letter from Gary. He said Gary had been talking to police and that Gary had told police that he (Gary) knows where several bodies are buried. I asked Larry if Gary DOES know where several bodies are buried. Larry said, “Only if he put them there.” Larry then said HE WAS TIRED OF PROTECTING HIS BROTHER.

It is also possible there was a third person involved in one or more of the murders. This person is said to be terminally ill. We will have to wait and see if this person confesses any involvement with Larry Hall.

I believe we already know some of the truth and that more facts will be revealed as time passes. The twins recently lost their mother. Larry has revealed information to me in the last two years and I believe he wants to tell his entire story, especially since his mother is gone. He told me he fears a death sentence. I believe that if Larry could be granted immunity, he would confess most of his deeds.

Your research into Hall has resulted in the discovery of several other murders and disappearances he might be responsible for. Can you tell us about a few you find most compelling?

            There are two that I find most interesting. The first is Angela Marie Hammond who was abducted while she was on the telephone in April of 1991. I considered adding her case when I wrote the book, but the reported suspect was driving a pickup truck. Larry Hall never drove a pickup, he drove vans that he used as mobile killing vehicles. After the book was published, I received a telephone call from a detective in Clinton, Missouri, where Angela was kidnapped. I told him I had considered Angela a “Larry girl” because she resembled many of the girls he took and because of the circumstances under which she was taken. I told him I had not included her case in the book because of the pickup truck theory. He then said they had pretty much discounted the pickup truck theory.

            We talked about Larry Hall and some of the cases in which he was suspected. The detective then mentioned that he had an artist’s sketch of the suspect. I asked him if he could email it and he did while I was on the phone with him. Simultaneously, I emailed him Larry Hall’s 1994 booking photo. I was astonished when the sketch came up on the screen. It was clearly Larry Hall. The detective said “wow” when he saw the booking photo.

            The second case is an unsolved disappearance, also in Missouri. Like Hammond, Cheryl Ann Kenney vanished from a convenience store in Nevada, Missouri two months’ prior to Hammond’s abduction. I believe Larry is responsible. He stalked convenience stores and similar venues. He probably waited until Kenney clocked out and went to her car. He struck her and loaded her into his van just like he confessed he did in the Jessica Roach murder.

He was known to return to the same area where he had been successful before. He had been to the Danville/Georgetown area of Illinois several times. He took Holly Anderson from Danville in January of 1992. He kidnapped and murdered Jessica Roach from Georgetown in 1993. (The case in which he would be later convicted.) He returned there in the summer of 1994 and was seen in three separate incidents in the summer and autumn … stalking girls. Those incidents led to his conviction and incarceration. There are groups of girls in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri that are connected to Larry Hall.

The m. o. and the proximate pattern lead me to believe Larry Hall is a strong suspect in the Kenney case.

Having tracked Hall through the years, do you sense any change in him? Might he be opening up more? Is there hope he'll show compassion for his victims and provide closure?

As I said, I believe Larry may open up more, now that his mother is gone. Larry told me he is not the same person he was when he was kidnapping and murdering women and young girls. He says he is sorry for what he has done.

He has revealed quite a bit to me already and I believe it is possible that, if he was granted immunity in multiple cases, he would provide more information.

I also believe it will be difficult for Larry to confess to the worst part of his crimes because of the way he disposed of many of his victims. Larry has a problem admitting to ANY kind of violence, always substituting a softer term for what actually happened. For example, he will always say he “grabbed” a girl when, in fact, he struck her violently. Jessica Roach’s jaw was broken by his blow. Given his inability to admit violence, I believe it would be only under extraordinary circumstances that Larry will admit how he disposed of many victims.

But to answer the question … serial killers do not reform.

Finally, what, if anything, can we learn from the behavior of serial offenders like Larry Hall?

            The FBI says there are more than 30 serial killers operating in the United States right now. They are killing our daughters, mothers and sisters. What we can learn is how to prevent the formation of serial killers. We have to be better at understanding how environmental factors like abuse, bullying, bad nutrition and other issues combine with heredity to create monsters. Once we understand, we can help prevent what happens to men like Larry Hall.




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RT @emilynussbaum: The artful @hodgman's straightforward case for Hillary: https://t.co/ijA8xHJ8Tm
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Know what he does believe in? PAC $. Took 10K from HRC pac 2006. That means he's in her pocket.#BSLogic
@Twaikuer @pattonoswalt @daveanthony Good one. Unfortunately Bernie on record as not believing in charity.
@johnlevenstein Thanks for asking, btw. That's the kind of elevated discourse missing lately. A lot of mud slinging. #I'mNotAboveItEither
@johnlevenstein Can't convey it all thru Twitter but yes, she has flaws. Too poll-driven, burned needed bridges, trouble owning mistakes.