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Pretrial conference date set in Schuylkill jeweler’s slaying

Another pretrial conference date has been set in the Megan Hall case in New Orleans.

Court documents show a March 31 hearing. A time is not provided.

Hall is charged in the February 2019 death of Pottsville jeweler Patrick J. Murphy.

On Monday Hall was set to appear in New Orleans Criminal District Court for a hearing but did not attend. James Moffett, her defense attorney, waived her appearance.

Robert Kazik, judicial administrator for Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, said a representative from the District Attorney’s office also attended the virtual courtroom session in front of Judge Nandi Campbell.

“This case is currently in trial posture and was rest to make sure all discovery materials have been turned over. Usually, once that has been agreed, a hard trial date will be set,” Kazik said.

A trial will not occur before March 1 because of a moratorium on jury trials imposed by the Louisiana Supreme Court due to the pandemic.

Hall remains in jail at the Orleans Parish Justice Center on $750,000 bond. She is charged with second-degree murder, armed robbery and obstruction of justice for the Feb. 28 killing. A grand jury voted to indict Hall in June 2019.

Police say Hall stabbed Murphy at The Empress Hotel, 1317 Ursulines St., in the Treme section of New Orleans. A hotel employee found his body at 11:41 a.m.

Murphy, who had been the owner of Murphy Jewelers, had been visiting the city with his wife after he attended a jewelry convention in Arizona.

If Hall is convicted of the murder charge, she faces a mandatory lifetime prison sentence. An armed robbery conviction is 10 to 99 years in state prison, and up to 40 years for the obstruction charge.