Nathan Hall avoids going back to jail
April 12, 2004
Nathan Hall avoided going back to jail with an 11th-hour deal to finish paying restitution to his victims.
Hall, 25, became the first skier in the U.S. to be convicted of a felony for killing someone in a collision on a ski slope. That collision, between Hall and Alan Cobb on the last day of the 1996 ski season, left Cobb dead of head injuries.
Last Friday, Hall managed to avoid being sent back to jail when he made his final restitution payment to Cobb’s family. A complaint against Hall for violating his parole was dropped when Hall made the payment, according to Hall’s attorney Brett Heckman.
Following his 2000 conviction, Hall was sentenced to 90 days in jail, three years of probation and ordered to pay $18,000 restitution to Cobb’s family.
“He paid everything he needed to pay last Friday,” District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said.
Witnesses at the trial said Hall was skiing too fast in poor conditions when he collided with Cobb, a 33-year-old Denver woodworker.
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Hall, who has already served his 90-day sentence in the Eagle County jail, was found to be skiing out of control on Vail’s Lower Riva Ridge run when he slammed into Cobb.
Cobb, who has two daughters from a previous marriage, died of a fractured skull and other serious injuries about an hour after Hall collided with him.
The crash occurred late in the afternoon as Cobb and his fiancee, Christi Neville, were taking their last run of the day. Hall was skiing down from his post as a lift operator. The impact sent Cobb flying several feet.
The case was thrown of court twice, before the Colorado Supreme Court agreed with former District Attorney Michael Goodbee and ordered Hall to stand trial.
Before giving a case to the jury, a judge always instruct jurors that they may either convict a defendant of certain crimes or acquit the person. In Hall’s case, District Judge David Lass instructed the jury they could find Hall not guilty or convict him of either reckless manslaughter, a more serious charge, or criminally negligent homicide. An Eagle County jury convicted him on the criminally negligent homicide.
Hall, a California native, later lost an appeal aimed at removing the conviction from his record.
Hall was sentenced Jan. 31, 2001. He entered the Eagle County jail on Feb. 27, 2001, to serve his 90-day sentence. He was released about two months later for good behavior. Jail officials said Hall was “a model prisoner.”