Anthony Hall – Another JW on Death Row

[Original Publication Date: May 25, 2001]

Docket No. 86168-Agenda 4-May 2000.

Opinion filed December 1, 2000.

JUSTICE FREEMAN delivered the judgment of the court:

Following a 1984 bench trial in the circuit court of McLean County, defendant, Anthony Hall, was convicted of murder. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1(a). At a separate sentencing hearing, the court, sitting without a jury, found defendant eligible for the death penalty and further determined that there were no mitigating circumstances sufficient to preclude imposition of that sentence. Pursuant to defendant’s subsequent petition for a writ of habeas corpus, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ordered that defendant receive a new sentencing hearing. Hall v. Washington, 106 F.3d 742 (7th Cir. 1997).

The circuit court of McLean County held a new sentencing hearing. A jury determined that there were no mitigating circumstances sufficient to preclude imposition of the death penalty. Accordingly, the court sentenced defendant to death. The death sentence has been stayed pending direct review by this court. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, §4(b); 134 Ill. 2d Rs. 603, 609(a). We affirm.

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The Self Styled Prophet: Charles Taze Russell

Some more background history concerning C.T. Russell is interesting. Today many believe he was a mild, truth-loving man. But facts proves he was a self-styled con-man. Someone who made religion to a million dollar enterprise. The following dates are a matter of public record.

In 1881 through 1897 The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society progressed under the joint administration of husband and wife. In 1897 Mrs. Russell left her husband. In 1903 Mrs. Russell sued for separation. The decree was secured in 1906, following sensational testimony and the courts scored Pastor Russell. The Pastor settled in 1906 with a payment of $6,036 to Mrs. Russell. This litigation also revealed that C.T. Russell controlled all financial power of the society, and was not accountable to anyone.

In Jan.1913 Mr. Russell sued the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper for libel, asking $100,000 in damages, concerning his sale of “Miracle Wheat”. He lost, and the Daily Eagle won.In June of 1912 a Pastor J.J. Ross of the James Street Baptist Church, of Hamilton, Ontario published a pamphlet titled “Some facts about the Self-Styled “Pastor” Charles T. Russell”. Pastor Ross scathingly denounced Russell’s whole system as anti-rational, anti-scientific, anti-biblical, anti-Christian and a deplorable perversion of the true gospel of God’s dear Son. Pastor Ross exposed Russell as a pseudo-scholar and philosopher who never attended the higher schools of learning. He knows comparatively nothing of philosophy, systematic or historical theology, and is totally ignorant of the dead languages Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic). C.T. Russell promptly sued Ross for “defamatory libel”

On March 17, 1913 upon cross-examination of Mr. Russell for five hours, it was revealed that he attended public school for only seven years, and left school at the age of 14. In further cross-examination it was revealed that Mr. Russell knew nothing of the Greek or Hebrew languages. He was never ordained as a “Pastor” by a bishop, clergymen, presbytery, council, or any body of men living in his day. After all was said and done, Mr. Russell lost his suit against Pastor J.J. Ross.

It is also interesting to note that shortly after this trial, Pastor J.J. Ross wrote a second pamphlet titled “Some Facts and More Facts about the Self-Styled Pastor Charles T. Russell”. At this time, Mr. Russell knowing about the second pamphlet by Pastor Ross did absolutely nothing about it, and had no public comment concerning it allegations. It is also interesting to note, that in all the litigations C.T. Russell had, his lawyer was none other then Judge J.F. Rutherford, heir to the throne of Russell’s watchtower society.

The above information is just a terse outline of early events, concerning Mr. C.T. Russell and the law. These events are documented in the newspapers of that day:

  • The Hawaiian Star (Honolulu, Dec.19 1912)
  • The Daily Standard Union (Canada). Pastor Russell was deported from Canada about Nov.1916.
  • The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, continually exposed C.T. Russell and the “con-games” he was involved in
  • The early “scams” and trails of C.T. Russell are still available today (now microfilmed in New York)

[Many of these documents are available on the Internet. Barbara Anderson’s website, (and provides copies of many of these documents. Some can also be found on and by searching Google.]