FORT WORTH, Texas Former major league outfielder Mel Hall was sentenced to 45 years in prison today after being convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl he coached on an elite basketball team.
Hall was convicted on three counts of aggravated sexual assault and two counts of indecency with a child. Among his accusers during sentencing were others who said he carried on inappropriate relationships with them.
Hall, 48, looked skyward and swayed back and forth as the verdict was read. One of his two daughters who testified on his behalf during the punishment phase sobbed.
Jurors reached the verdict on the punishment after about an hour of deliberating. They took about 90 minutes Tuesday to convict Hall. He must serve about 22½ years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
After the verdict was announced, prosecutor Kim D'Avignon read a brief statement on behalf of the 12-year-old victim and other accusers.
"We believe that the verdict does on some level show that the jury understood," D'Avignon said after the trial. "They looked in these girls' eyes and said this is worth 40 years, and we agree with them."
The defense had argued in the sentencing phase of the trial that Hall was a good man who mentored a lot of athletes and had a lot of good still to do.
"For all the good this man has done in his life, it seems like this was an excessive verdict," defense attorney Brady Wyatt said after the verdict.
Halls 13-year major league career ended in 1996 and included stints with the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants.