A prolific Spokane criminal pleaded not guilty to a new federal drug charge Wednesday, a little more than a year after he was released from prison early due to COVID-19 concerns.
Eddie Ray Hall, 57, pleaded not guilty to possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute the drug following an arrest at a Spokane hotel in February. A grand jury earlier this month indicted Hall, whose criminal history in the area dates to 1976, with a charge carrying a minimum prison sentence of five years after he was arrested with more than a half pound of methamphetamine and nearly $5,000 in cash on Feb. 19.
Hall was supposed to be serving a probation sentence in Hungry Horse, Montana, at the time. He’d been sentenced to 16 years in prison for the same methamphetamine charge, but was released in August 2020 after his attorney successfully argued health problems put him at increased risk of dying of COVID-19 behind bars.
Hall appeared briefly in a yellow Spokane County Jail jumpsuit and his hair pulled back in a ponytail before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rodgers, where he entered the not guilty plea. His current attorney, Gordon Stoa, asked that Hall remain in Spokane County so that his client could more easily receive drug treatment.
Hall was moved to Spokane County Jail on Tuesday after being housed in Whitman County Jail. His next court date has not been scheduled.
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