Woman thought cats set off her car alarm and opened door to find escaped Florida inmate inside


Jess James Hall appears in body-worn camera footage and a booking photo

Jesse James Hall appears in body worn camera footage (Lady Lake Police Department) and a booking photo (Lake County Sheriff’s Office)

A Florida inmate claimed confusion after a tears-inducing encounter with a woman after escaping from prison and then finding his way to the inside of her BMW over the weekend, police in the Sunshine State say.

Jesse James Hall, 31, stands accused of one count each of burglary of an unoccupied conveyance while unarmed; battery by touch or strike; resisting arrest without violence; and providing false identification to law enforcement, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

The defendant is currently being held with “no bond” because he has an active warrant for escaping a prison facility in Orlando on May 22, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Law&Crime.

The present case began during the early morning hours on Sunday. At around 4:40 a.m., the owner of the BMW called police to report that she heard her car’s alarm blaring and went to see what was going on.

“The victim approached her car and opened the door at which point the subject grabbed her right arm,” the affidavit reads. “The victim broke away and proceeded back into her residence and armed herself with a firearm while waiting for law enforcement to arrive.”

Hall was hailed by Lady Lake Police Department officers who arrived at 4:47 a.m. and found him outside of the BMW – which was still in the woman’s driveway – without a shirt on, police say.

“What did I do sir?” Hall can be seen asking a responding officer in body worn camera footage obtained by Law&Crime.

When asked to put his hands up, the defendant allegedly gave chase and ran “a short distance” until he “surrendered at gunpoint.” In the footage, Hall can be seen laying down prone on a gravel road just a few paces away from the woman’s residence.

“What did I get the cops called on me for?” Hall asks as he is being detained. The officer does not reply.

Police say the defendant was searched after being handcuffed and “a small key fob like taser was located on his person.”

After the arrest, the woman “exited her residence hysterically crying,” according to the affidavit.

“The victim stated it’s normal for her car alarm to go off due to neighborhood cats,” the document goes on. “The victim opened the driver’s door with her left hand and proceeded to try and turn the ignition on with her right hand. The victim stated as she went to turn the vehicle on, she was grabbed by a male who was in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.”

Officers subsequently searched the BMW and found a black Nokia phone, which Hall allegedly later admitted was his – after saying he probably lost it during his abortive getaway run. The key fob-like taser, it turned out, belonged to the woman.

When pressed about the incident, Hall allegedly invoked his Miranda rights. But, police say, the defendant went on to waive those constitutional rights when he “spontaneously uttered multiple times while being detained during the investigation.”

One series of such alleged utterances included a claim that he was dropped off in the area by a man named “Joe” in order “to see a woman” who lives in the neighborhood. Police say Hall explained it like this: “some stuff went down that’s why I was in the car, look at the cameras from Jessica Rainwater’s house.”

The affidavit does not say what the defendant expected police to find on those recordings, if the cameras were checked, or if they exist.

According to police, Hall first gave a fake name that “produced no records.” The defendant was later found out by fingerprinting technology. Police determined he had recently escaped and is supposed to be serving a seven-year sentence for two counts of grand theft auto and four drug crimes.

On Monday, Hall pleaded not guilty to each of the four new offenses. He is currently slated to appear in court again on June 26.

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