A Gainesville man was sentenced to six years behind bars in a child molestation case involving two boys, while one of the boy’s mothers described feeling “helpless and a failure” in a victim impact statement.
James Jackson Hall, 56, was accused of grabbing two 15-year-old boys in separate instances at the Chick-fil-A and Kroger in the New Holland area in 2018.
Gainesville Police Investigator Brad Raper testified Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the hearing before Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin while standing next to a television showing surveillance footage of the Limestone Parkway Chick-fil-A.
Hall approached the boys, “began asking random questions and then groped them before leaving the area,” Gainesville Police Sgt. Kevin Holbrook previously told The Times.
The boy from the Chick-fil-A reported after the Kroger victim came forward, and there is no known connection between the two, Raper said.
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Assistant District Attorney Harold Buckler said.
Defense attorney Chandelle Summer said Hall “feels dreadfully sorry” as she focused on a defense concerned with Hall’s brain chemistry.
Summer filed a motion in August for Hall’s blood and urine to be collected for a biochemical evaluation.
“The results of the blood and urine evaluation and lab report would then be forwarded to Dr. David Epsein who can then interpret the type of depression (there are several) for the defendant and why antidepressants may have dis-inhibiting effects on impulses, possibly driving grandiosity, impulse problems and mild hypomania,” according to Summer’s motion.
Epstein and Dr. Robert Shaffer testified during the sentencing hearing.
The prosecution brought up a pending case in DeKalb County.
“While he was doing that volunteer work, Mr. Hall once again grabbed (the 15-year-old boy’s) penis. We have another victim in DeKalb County as well, once again, who was volunteering at a church … and Mr. Hall did the same thing,” according to a court transcript.
Buckler did not have not any new information on that case’s status Wednesday.
The mother of the boy grabbed at the Chick-fil-A prepared a victim-impact statement, in which she described the first few days “filled with a lot of fear, shock, plenty of crying, very anxious and a lot of sleepless nights for both of us, not to mention the anger I felt.”
“I would get up in the middle of the night … to check on him like he was a baby. And I felt helpless and a failure because that is something I couldn’t fix. And the fact is moms are supposed to fix everything,” the mother wrote in the statement.
The mother said she hopes her son understands that it was not his fault and that he did not deserve this “vile act that was brought upon him.”
“And the second thing is I’ve come to realize more and more that our greatest investment in the community is our children, and we as a community need to let children know we will protect them and that if something like this happens, that the guilty party is going to get more than just a slap on the wrist,” according to the letter.
Hall was given a 20-year sentence, with the first six years in confinement. Hall will receive credit for time served since Jan. 31, 2018, and the rest may be served on probation.
Gosselin also ordered three years of private house arrest after Hall’s custodial time with “court review every six months after (he is) released from prison,” according to court documents.
Hall will also be subject to the sex offender special conditions of probation.