FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – While being transported to police headquarters, Timothy L. Hall, Jr. admitted to shooting his sister’s fiancé.
‘I made a big mistake,’ he told Fort Wayne officer Nicholas Lichtsinn on the way to police headquarters as his sister’s fiancé Manuel Mendez lay dead on the ground with 18 bullet holes. “I defended my sister.
Hall, 29, was furious when he learned that Mendez had given his sister, Kayla Cyrus, a black eye. On June 13, 2020, he attended a birthday party at his sister’s house, taking his 2-year-old son with him. It was also packing a 9mm pistol.
A jury on Wednesday found Hall guilty of murder, criminal recklessness, resisting law enforcement, neglecting a dependent and using a firearm in the commission of an offense . He was found not guilty of pointing a gun at another person, although the jury checked the guilty box and then used the whiteout to change it.
Hall’s sentencing is set for October 31 at 9:00 a.m.
It was another murder case that divided families. On a Venn diagram, the Mendez family and people of Hall would be shown on the outer curves, but in the middle, people related to Timothy and Kayla – spouses, parents and children.
In an unusual move, Hall testified on his own behalf on Wednesday, the final day of the three-day trial before Superior Court Judge David Zent.
Although he was furious that Mendez blackened his sister’s eye, Hall was afraid of Mendez, who was allegedly affiliated with a gang and had been incarcerated. At the party, he became drunk, according to court testimony.
Indeed, one of the questions the jury asked Hall was “Are you alcohol intolerant?” Another was ‘did your sister ask you to help her with Mendez? to which he replied “no”.
Hall would leave the party after midnight with his son in the back seat, according to a probable cause affidavit written by former homicide detective Donald Lewis and court testimony. His sister, worried he was drunk, tried to pull the toddler out of the car and Hall pointed his gun at her. She returned to the house and Mendez came out to talk to Hall, a conversation that led to the deadly altercation.
This is where the narrative differs. While Cyrus and the state argued that Mendez was a peacemaker, one who “always tried to put people down if they argued,” that wasn’t the picture painted by the defense attorney. Alexander Newman.
Witnesses said they saw Mendez swing Hall, Newman said in closing arguments, after Mendez escalated the argument, rather than defused it.
“It was not peaceful. He (Mendez) was about to come out,” Newman said. “This is the beginning of physical violence.”
Although he was unarmed at the time of the fight, an autopsy showed he was using drugs – heroin, cocaine, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and norfentanyl, among others. At the autopsy, a glass pipe burned at both ends was a crack pipe, Newman said.
“And that black eye?” Newman asked. “Prison taught him nothing.”
His client went into robbery mode and was chased by Fort Wayne police from Lima Road to Larry’s Auto Sales on N. Clinton where he was forced to stop because he ran into four cars.
The theft was part of Hall’s fear for his life and the reason Newman tried to say it was self-defense.
“You don’t have to like it,” Newman said. “You don’t have to like it. It’s the law.
But Allen County prosecutors Tom Chaille and Tesa Helge said scared or not scared, Hall didn’t deserve a free pass.
Who is Tim Hall – a protector or “a guy who points a gun at his sister?” Helge asked the jury during closing arguments.
Hall fired his gun at Mendez who turned to deflect the bullets. He was shot in the back, front, face and neck, Chaille said.
An autopsy photo showed him with a constellation of bullet holes on his torso just above intricate tattoos.
Cyrus, a nurse, was one of those trying to save Mendez as people called 911 almost as quickly as he fell to the ground outside his home on Gillmore Drive, Chaille said. Dispatchers heard people screaming and trying to resuscitate him. Hall’s sister was one of those sticking her fingers in the bullet holes, trying to stem the flow.
“But there were too many,” she said.
“It wasn’t a close call,” Chaille told the jury. “Choices have been made.