‘It’s the Most Outrageous Thing I’ve Ever Seen. It Makes No Sense.’

“DNA evidence proved Lydell Grant’s innocence. So why won’t the state’s highest criminal court exonerate him?”

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Oct 21, 2020
Length: 35 minutes (8,801 words)


Willie Nelson’s been playing the same guitar — a Martin N-20 classical — for 50 years. In this fantastic profile from 2013, Michael Hall chronicles not only the life and times of Willie and his trusted sidekick, Trigger, but the laborious care and tending of an instrument that is the primary tool of a living musical legend.

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Jan 21, 2013
Length: 25 minutes (6,257 words)

What We Lost in Austin Bombing Victim Draylen Mason

Draylen Mason was more than good at everything he did, he was brilliant. He was a musical prodigy who wanted to be a neurosurgeon, and just days after he died, he was accepted to Oberlin Conservatory of Music. At Texas Monthly, Michael Hall tries to make sense of a senseless death.

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Apr 12, 2018
Length: 15 minutes (3,800 words)

The Trouble with Innocence

For nearly 40 years, Kerry Max Cook fought to clear his name after being wrongfully convicted in a murder case. So why did he ask for his conviction back? Michael Hall reports on what happened to an innocent man after spending years in prison.

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Mar 16, 2017
Length: 54 minutes (13,748 words)

The Faces of Obamacare

As the GOP discusses repealing the Affordable Care Act, it’s essential to look at some of the lives that nationalized health care has improved and saved, and at the activists who helped get eligible people enrolled. Here are a few from Texas.

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Feb 14, 2017
Length: 18 minutes (4,534 words)

The Outcast

Greg Torti has lived the life of a convicted sex offender for nearly two decades: forced to live with his family on the outskirts of town and discriminated against while looking for jobs. Is it a life deserved? Not if you believe the real story behind Torti’s conviction.

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Oct 23, 2015
Length: 31 minutes (7,917 words)

Man on Fire

The story of Reverend Charles Moore, who set himself on fire in an empty parking lot in Grand Saline, Texas to make a statement.

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Nov 24, 2014
Length: 35 minutes (8,778 words)

The Murders at the Lake

In 1982 three teenagers were found savagely stabbed to death by a lake in Waco, Texas. Four men were found guilty and two were sentenced to death. Were they guilty? Michael Hall spent one year reporting this five-parts series for Texas Monthly:

This story examines the case through the viewpoint of five people: a patrol sergeant who investigated the crime; a police detective who became skeptical of the investigation; an appellate lawyer who tried to stop the execution; a journalist whose reporting has raised new doubts about the case; and a convict who pleaded guilty but now vehemently proclaims his innocence.

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Mar 28, 2014
Length: 99 minutes (24,844 words)

Who Killed Mary Eula Sears?

From the start, the murder frustrated Abilene police. Eleven officers searched every room of Mary Eula’s house for clues, but all they found was the murder weapon, a bloody hunting knife that had no fingerprints on its ridged handle. Partly because the home’s ornately carved antique furniture had few smooth surfaces, only two usable fingerprints were found, and both of them belonged to Officer Berry. No hairs, no semen, and nobody else’s blood but Mary Eula’s.

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: Nov 1, 2011
Length: 34 minutes (8,652 words)

Falling Comet

In 1955 “Rock Around the Clock” went to the top of the charts and turned Bill Haley into the king of rock and roll. Twenty-five years later, he was holed up in a pool house in Harlingen, drunk, lonely, paranoid, and dying. After three decades of silence, his widow and his children tell the story of his years in Texas and his sad final days.

Source: Texas Monthly
Published: May 23, 2011
Length: 30 minutes (7,647 words)