Just days before her death, a Mississippi woman called deputies to her home for help with two daughters now accused of fatally shooting and stabbing their mother, officials said.
Pike County Sheriff's Office Chief Investigator Chris Bell said deputies went to Ericka Hall's residence last week when she reported having trouble with her 14-year-old daughter. Bell said deputies were told that daughter and a 12-year-old tried to run over Hall with a vehicle, but she didn't press charges.
Hall was found dead outside her home early Saturday and both daughters are charged with murder.
The 14-year-old is charged as an adult and remained jailed Wednesday in Pike County pending $150,000 bail. Lawyer John McNeil, who represents her, declined to comment. Under Mississippi law, children 13 and older accused of certain crimes are automatically charged as adults. Judges can later transfer cases to youth court.
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The 12-year-old remains in juvenile detention.
The Associated Press doesn't normally identify juveniles accused of crimes.
Neighbor Jeremy Lenoir told The Enterprise-Journal that the girls tapped on his car window and asked for a ride as Hall lay wounded across the street. Lenoir's mother came outside and noticed the lights were on in Hall's Nissan Altima. She thought that was odd and tried calling Hall but got no answer, so she contacted Hall's relatives.
"We rushed down the street to her daddy and her sister's house, and when they came and drove down here, we found her on the other side of the car laid out," Lenoir said.
Lenoir said Hall had a knife in her back.
"When I went over there, she was laying on her back with both of her fists balled up, eyes open, so you could tell she was trying to fight them back," Lenoir said. "That was a terrible sight. That messed me up, and to think that her kids did that."
At the family's mobile home on a half-acre of land east of Magnolia, remnants of the struggle remained Tuesday. Arrows drawn with orange spray paint followed a trail of blood from the front door to the passenger side of Hall's car. From there, the blood trail circles back to the driver's side, where Hall was found, shielded from the view of the rural road.
Lenoir said the girls acted calm but something seemed unusual.
"They seemed weird," he said. "The girls, they came over here straight-faced, like nothing had ever happened."
Sheriff Kenny Cotton said both of the girls will undergo a mental evaluation.
"They were like children having problems," said Robin Coney, Hall's aunt. "She was trying to get them help and stuff, and was going to send them off because they didn't go to school."
Hall, a single mother who worked nights in a chicken processing plant, also had 1-year-old and 16-year-old daughters.