Five years ago, U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown warned Dante Emanuel Hall that if he was found with a gun while on federal supervision, she’d send him to prison for “as long as I can send you.’’
On Monday, Hall was back before the judge.
This time, he admitted he had a gun moments before he was wounded in a downtown Portland parking lot on Sept. 30, 2018, leading to his fifth firearms conviction in 15 years.
The judge ordered that Hall be sent to federal prison for five years, going above sentencing guidelines but issuing half of the 10-year term the prosecutor sought.
“Most people change when they’ve been punished, and he doesn’t,’’ Brown said. “This is something I’ve never seen before in one individual. Even with escalating prison terms, nothing has changed. It’s only gotten worse.’’
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Edmonds argued that Hall posed a dire threat to the community and demonstrated “nothing but disdain and contempt’’ for the rule of law. He urged the judge to heed her own words from April 2014 and sentence Hall to 10 years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
“He glorifies his role with firearms,’’ Edmonds said. “He takes pictures of it. It’s who he is, and it poses a huge danger to our community.’’
Hall was one of the men who Patrick Kimmons wounded in a downtown parking lot on Sept. 30, 2018 before Kimmons was fatally shot by police. Hall was shot in the left leg and fractured his femur.
Before he was shot, Hall had placed a Walther 9mm handgun on the wheel of a car’s tire in the downtown parking lot at Southwest Third Avenue and Harvey Milk Street, according to investigators and video surveillance footage.
Hall’s defense lawyer Thomas Price asked for a prison term of a year and a half, and urged the judge to consider what Hall has suffered as a gunshot victim. When he was shot, he was not carrying a gun, Price said.
“He has pins in his femur. He’s always under pain. He may never walk normally again,’’ Price said.
Hall apologized to his family and friends. Since he was first shot at age 17, he said he’s been led to believe he needed to carry a gun for protection.
“You get shot, you’re going to carry a gun,’’ he told a psychologist, according to an evaluation presented to the court. "You would too.''
In court, Hall said his recent wounding has made him realize his gang and firearms activity is wrong.
“It changed everything for me,’’ he said. “I want to say sorry to my family, the community and the courts for being here again.’’
Hall has prior felony convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2013 and 2007, for unlawful use of a weapon in 2013 and for riot in 2008, according to court records. Hall often would commit a new crime shortly after getting out of prison, brazenly flouting his supervised release conditions, the prosecutor and judge pointed out.
In 2014, for example, the judge had revoked Hall’s federal supervised release after he was convicted in state court of unlawful use of a weapon for firing a gun at an occupied car outside a Portland strip club, just four days after his release from prison.
Within two days of his release from prison in June 2018, Hall had a gun at the scene of a shooting in Vancouver, Washington, Edmonds said.
The judge said she seriously considered issuing a 10-year sentence, but said she paused and thought, “Then what?’’ Such a lengthy sentence might further impede Hall’s ability to re-enter the community in a law-abiding way, Brown said.
“You have to follow the law and if you don’t, you’re going to be taken out of the community,’’ the judge said. "I’m hoping you will change. You’re young enough.''
Hall was a friend of Kimmons and appears to have been shot accidentally by Kimmons, according to federal prosecutors. Both were members of the Rolling 60s Crips gang, investigators said.
Early on Sept. 30, 2018, Hall arrived in the downtown Portland parking lot in a maroon Hyundai, stepping from the driver’s seat and walking up to a group of people. When two Portland police drove into the lot about 3 a.m., Hall walked away from the group and could be seen placing something on the front passenger tire of another car, according to prosecutors.
When a Portland police sergeant and an officer walked closer to the group to find out what was going on, they saw a group of men fighting in a big scrum. They saw one man suddenly step away from the group, his right arm extended toward the others and they heard gunshots, according to grand jury transcripts and police reports. The gunmen, later identified as Kimmons, had fired five shots from a .38-caliber Taurus revolver, striking Marcell Branch three times in the chest and Hall in the leg, police said.
Moments earlier, Branch had punched Hall in the face for no apparent reason, according to police interviews and video surveillance images. Kimmons’ shots appeared intended for Branch, but one bullet accidentally hit Hall, according to prosecutors.
Kimmons then ran toward the officers holding a gun and was shot and killed, according to police and video surveillance. A Multnomah County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by police.
Within minutes of the shooting, Hall and Branch arrived at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. A Portland police officer who responded to the hospital described Hall as “belligerent and uncooperative,'' according to court documents.
Investigators obtained a federal warrant to search Hall’s hospital room. They found a .45-caliber Springfield handgun inside a woman’s purse. The discovery led to a temporary lock-down of the hospital and created a major concern for staff, Edmonds said. The woman denied ownership of the gun and there was no DNA evidence linking Hall to the .45-caliber gun, according to court reports.
Police also seized Hall’s iPhone and found photos and video of him holding at least three different guns between July 20 and Sept. 30, 2018. The Sept. 30, 2018 video showed Hall holding the same black Walther PPQ 9mm handgun that he possessed the night of Sept. 30, 2018.
After he completes his prison term, Hall will be on three years of supervised release. He’s been ordered not to have contact with any gang members without prior approval from his federal probation officer.
"What about my brothers?'' Hall asked the judge.
The judge told Hall he’ll have to get prior approval from his probation officer to associate with them as well.
-- Maxine Bernstein
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow on Twitter @maxoregonian
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