A man who spent less than a year in jail after committing a series of violent robberies, including threatening to slit the throats of his victims, was incarcerated again just two weeks after being released.
Investigators, who assumed in 2004 — considering the egregious nature of his crimes — that they had seen the last of him, are now furious that someone they consider a serious threat to public safety was back on the streets allegedly committing the same crimes less than a year later.
" 'Are you kidding me?' was the reaction of our detectives after they found out he was out," said Salt Lake City police detective Dwayne Baird. "We do all this work, and he gets out in less than a year. We're just beside ourselves. With the brutality of the aggravating circumstances . . . as brutal as he is . . . (investigators) couldn't believe it was the same guy at first. They were livid."
Mark Kenneth Hall, 44, was arrested Oct. 22 and charged in 3rd District Court with three counts of aggravated robbery for incidents in Salt Lake City and Taylorsville. Baird said investigators have evidence showing Hall was back at the "same terrorism" just weeks after being released.
In 2004, Hall was arrested in connection with a similar series of aggravated robberies across Salt Lake and Davis counties. According to police records, Hall was arrested for at least seven incidents in Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and Woods Cross during February and March of 2004. He was later charged with five counts of aggravated robbery, all first-degree felonies, and one count of second-degree attempted aggravated robbery in Salt Lake's 3rd District Court.
According to police reports:
On Feb. 27, 2004, Hall held a knife to the throat of a restaurant waitress and told her, "Don't fight me or I'll slit your throat."
On March 1, an employee and a customer at a restaurant on south State Street were threatened in the same way during a robbery Hall was accused of committing.
On March 2, Hall hit an employee at a downtown restaurant with a wrench.
Two more similar violent attacks were reported before Hall was captured. He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated robbery in 3rd District Court in July 2004 in exchange for dismissal of the other five charges.
He also pleaded guilty to third-degree felony attempted robbery in Davis County for another incident at a Woods Cross restaurant in which he claimed to have a knife.
After spending 66 days at the state prison for evaluation, Hall was then given a suspended prison sentence and sent to the Salt Lake County Jail for about 300 days and released a month ago. He went home to Helper, where he was required to check in regularly with his probation officer. But about two weeks later, police say, Hall stole his father's car and drove back to Salt Lake to pick up where he left off.
On Oct. 19, Hall robbed a restaurant on south Redwood Road, according to police reports. Just a few hours later, Hall robbed a convenience store on 2100 South at knifepoint, according to police records. When the store clerk asked the man how he was doing, he replied, "Not too good. I guess I'm going to have to rob you," before pulling out a 10-inch blade, records state.
Salt Lake police were shocked to discover that the man in the surveillance video was the man they had arrested just a year ago.
The next day, two warrants were issued for Hall's arrest for violating his probation. Court records called Hall at that point a "high-risk offender" who "may be a danger to himself and others."
On Oct. 21, Hall is accused of robbing an east-side shoe store using a box cutter.
The next day, officers arrested Hall, with the help of a SWAT team, after his father's stolen car was spotted.
"He's had a long, violent criminal history, but for some reason, I don't know why, continues to get out," said Taylorsville Police Sgt. Rosie Rivera. "All we can do is file the charges."