Jury Finds Murder Suspect Guilty In Fatal Fire, Assault

By  | 

The jury spent only three and a half hours deliberating, before returning a guilty verdict in the murder trial of Terrance Hale.

In February, Hale broke into the home of Raymond and Elizabeth Vasholz, near 33rd and Ernst, and demanded money from the couple. Elizabeth testified that Hale began beating her husband after the couple told him they didn't have cash. Elizabeth said she offered to write a check.

At one point, Elizabeth testified that she grabbed a lamp and hit Hale, but he knocked the lamp out of her hands and picked it up to use on Raymond.

Elizabeth testified that she remembers Hale then picked up a piece of paper off a nearby desk, lit it with the stove nearby, and tried to throw it on her. The fighting continued for several moments. Ultimately, Elizabeth said “I knew I needed to get out of there, I had to get out of there. But when I turned to get out of the home, I saw him; he had lit the couch cushion on fire.”

Mrs. Vasholz escaped the home without her pajama top, and used a recycling bin to cover her bare chest. She would sit on the neighbor’s front porch, “screaming out for help, screaming out the numbers to my daughters work phone number.”

Elizabeth testified that she recognized Hale because he had shoveled the couple's walks in the past and mowed their lawn.

Douglas County Deputy Attorney said this testimony really helped the case. "Betty Vasholz is a very strong woman. That strength allowed her to get up onto the witness stand, point at this defendant and tell the jury all the horrible things that he did to her and her husband," said Jim Masteller.

The Vasholz family said they are very happy with the verdict and they are eager to hear his sentence.

Hale was found guilty of one count of 1st degree murder, one count of 1st degree arson and one count of burglary.