By Cristóbal Reyes
Sources Orlando Sentinel
The man Orlando police said is responsible for the brutal 1987 killings of two men amid a spree of violent robberies was arrested after DNA evidence identified him as the alleged murderer, according to court filings.
Charlie James Hall, 55, allegedly attacked and robbed more than a dozen people — killing Lawrence Stewart and Louie Holloway — in downtown Orlando between August and October that year, beating them if they didn’t turn over their belongings, investigators said in an affidavit filed Tuesday.
The Orlando Police Department said Hall confessed to the murders when presented with the DNA evidence Monday. He’s charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is in the Orange County Jail with no bond.
Stewart and Holloway were found dead nearly two months apart within blocks of each other along the Interstate 4 corridor. Police said they were found with blunt force injuries to their heads and their items scattered around them.
According to the affidavit, 14 others were attacked by Hall, often in the middle of the night, and were beaten bloody with what officers at the time described as rebar or metal pipes. Most of the victims were homeless and couldn’t identify their attacker because the robberies often happened by surprise.
Hall was arrested Oct. 16, 1987, after months with no leads prompted an OPD task force to stake out the areas around downtown and Parramore. A transcript of his interview with police shows he took credit for five of the robberies but neither of the murders.
He also said he often heard voices ahead of the attacks and would “black out while walking in downtown Orlando.”
“I just click,” Hall said, according to the transcript. “It’s like all of a sudden I be walking down the street, I go talking to myself, laughing and [expletive] and I just ... go through changes.”
Hall wasn’t charged for the murders at the time “due to insufficient evidence,” but the affidavit and Florida Department of Corrections records show he was imprisoned for two of the robberies at the time.
He was released in August 1990.
DOC records also show he was in and out of prison for burglary charges for years after that, with his final stint ending in October 2010.
OPD officers went looking for Hall in December, eventually finding him Jan. 19 in order to swab him for DNA to compare to samples obtained in the initial investigation. He was found by Orange County deputies at his home on 19th Street, where he consented to a swab, the affidavit said.
Hall also allegedly showed remorse to officers in interviews and said he wanted to “clear this up.”
“I’ve been wrestling with this case for 34 years,” Hall allegedly said. “Even when I was incarcerated, I couldn’t sleep because I know I hurt a lot of people. ... I felt that within myself that I had some unfinished business with the law.”
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