MINNEAPOLIS — Noting that his job is to balance a defendant's humanity with the harm he has caused, a Hennepin County judge sentenced Robert David Lloyd Hall to 25 years in prison for the murder of a Good Samaritan.
Hall apologized to the family and friends of Kavanian Palmer during a Zoom sentencing hearing Tuesday for the fatal shooting in north Minneapolis on Nov. 12, 2022.
"I just wanted to say I'm sorry for what happened... It's not me," Hall said.
Hall earlier pleaded guilty to second degree unintentional murder and attempted robbery, for which Judge Paul Scoggin imposed an agreed-upon sentence of 300 months and one day in prison.
On the day of Palmer's killing Hall was driving through a Minneapolis intersection when he collided with another motorist. He later told police that with a gun and drugs in his car, and a warrant out for his arrest, all he could think of was running to get away.
Witnesses to the incident say Palmer was on the scene, saw Hall running from the crash scene and tried to stop him along with two other Samaritans. During the ensuing struggle Hall pulled his gun and shot Palmer in the chest, killing him.
"I would give anything to hug him, touch him, kiss him, see his smile," Kavanian's mother Kamilah Palmer told KARE 11's Kiya Edwards on Valentine's Day 2022, just one week before he would have turned 22 years old.
During Tuesday's sentencing hearing a victims advocate read a number of statements from those on the scene, expressing continuing fear for their personal safety, anxiety and stress from witnessing the murder that leave them unable to work.
Defense attorney Susan Herlofsky then described Hall as a son, brother and partner who feels remorse and vows to do better with his life, pointing to the guilty pleas as proof he wants to do the right thing. "He did not intend to take someone's life that day," she insisted.
Herlofsky added that Hall seeks eventual forgiveness from Palmer's family and loved ones if they can some day find it in their hearts. "He intends to make change."
Hall himself told Judge Scoggin and the virtual courtroom that he had a bed in a drug treatment program waiting for him on the day of the murder. He said he was not sorry for himself and the fact he is going to prison, but for the loss of Palmer's life and the impact he has had on so many.
In pronouncing the sentence Judge Scoggin told Hall that it is important to note the humanity of defendants when they feel remorse, but also balance that with the harm he (Hall) had caused.
"We live in a world where if we thought first and acted later, we'd all be better off," Scoggins reflected as he sentenced Hall to the 300 months specified in the plea agreement. "It is this court's hope that you continue to reflect, and make changes in your life."
As part of the sentence Hall will be prohibited from possessing firearms for the remainder of his life. A restitution package will be recommended within 90 days.
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