A woman who became the poster child for Oklahoma’s dysfunctional criminal justice system could soon be free. She drew national attention after being sentenced to 30 years in prison for not reporting her boyfriend for abusing her children. He received only two years for the abuse.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the board of Pardon and Parole voted unanimously to commute of Tondalao Hall.
“God everybody’s crying,” said Allen McCall of the Board of Pardon and Parole. “Alright, let’s call the vote on Ms. Hall.”
With that, Hall could soon be a free woman. She’s been behind bars for 15 years of a 30-year sentence.
Convicted for failing to protect her children after her then boyfriend, Robert Braxton, beat them so badly they suffered broken bones. He went to jail for just two years for the crime.
“Mister Braxton abused Ms. Hall physically, emotionally, sexually, and verbally for several years. That was unavailable to the court at the time of sentencing,” said Hall’s attorney Megan Lambert. “We believe in light of these facts that her sentence of 30 years for failing to stop the crimes of her abuser, for failing to get out of an abusive relationship that 30 years is grossly excessive.”
Behind bars, Hall earned her GED and graduated from cosmetology school.
“She’s a woman of integrity, she’s a straight a student, and she’s become one of my closest friends,” said Christy Luther of the prison’s RISE Program. “Last year, when she was denied her commutation, I saw that it crushed her and I saw her stand back up, get right back in the routine hold her head high and keep being the amazing woman that she always is.”
Hall spoke briefly saying she’s ready to be a good mother to her now teenage children.
“I’ve really worked hard to be the woman that my children need me to be,” said Hall.
The board unanimously agreed.
“I’m so impressed by the support of the family that stuck with her through and it’s wonderful for you to do that and she’s going to be free,” said Robert Gilliland of the Board of Pardon and Parole.
It’s now up to Governor Kevin Stitt to decide whether to sign off on the commutation. If he does, Hall could be free by the beginning of the new year.