Teen facing manslaughter charges in veteran’s death

akelley@thesunnews.comNovember 19, 2012 

Three people, including a juvenile, are facing charges after a fight turned deadly last week.

A 15-year-old boy is charged with voluntary manslaughter, said Sgt. Robert Kegler with Horry County Police. He is being held at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.

Russell W. Hall Jr., 67, an Air Force veteran, died in his home on Nov. 15 from a head injury, said Horry County Coroner Robert Edge. He was injured the night before when he was pushed outside a gas station, falling to the ground and hitting his head on concrete, Kegler said.

Hall was a man of few words, said his son Russell W. Hall III.

“He didn’t say a whole lot, he just did,” Hall III said. “He did things for people. He helped people out. There’s a 94-year-old neighbor who was at the memorial who said she’s going to miss her panic button. Anytime she called he would head over.”

Hall was a retired Senior Master Sergeant with the U.S. Air Force and is a Vietnam War and Gulf War Veteran, his son said.

According to an obituary published in The Sun News, he was a member of the Socastee Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite 32nd Degree Mason and the Omar Shrine.

Russell Leroy Witkowski, 23, and Anthony Thomas Witkowski, 24, both of Conway, are charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Detectives with the violent crimes division learned the men had been drinking with the teen before the fight occurred. Both are being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

On Tuesday, the pair of men also were charged with accessory after the fact of a felony or murder, according to jail records.

The three arrested were kicked out of a Conway area bar on Nov. 14 after becoming belligerent when asked for their IDs, according to an incident report. That’s when they went to the Wilco gas station and fought with Hall, police said.

Hall was briefly unconscious after hitting his head on the concrete, but was talking to police on scene at the gas station and refused treatment from Horry County Fire Rescue, Kegler said.

The family initially thought Hall had died of natural causes.

“He made it home, my mom even talked to him and he had a sandwich,” Russell Hall said. “He did complain of a headache and then he passed in the night.”

The incident remains under investigation, and Kegler said additional charges or arrests may be possible.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.

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