COLUMBIA, S.C.—The man accused of killing a Forest Acres police officer in 2015 pleaded guilty in Columbia Tuesday and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Jarvis Hall, 36, admitted shooting Officer Greg Alia during the incident that occurred September 30th outside Richland Mall.
Three officers responded to a call of a suspicious man outside the mall around 8 in the morning. When Officer Alia approached Hall, Hall ran. Alia caught him and the two struggled before Hall pulled a gun and shot the officer. Other officers were then able to subdue Hall.
Officer Alia’s widow, Kassy, spoke in court. “Nothing can bring Greg back. Nothing can make up what was taken from me, from all of us,” she told the judge. But she said she wanted to speak in case their son Sal, who is now two and was only six months old when his father was killed, looks back on what happened. “I want him to be able to find love in his heart, to redirect any pain he feels toward helping others. I hope that he seeks to listen, to understand, to empathize,” she said.
Outside the courtroom after the hearing, she told reporters, “My heart crumbled the day my husband was killed and my heart aches for Mr. Hall. I wish so badly we could change it all. I wish none of us were here, but I can’t and it’s a miserably hopeless feeling. But we are not hopeless. What if we could’ve found Mr. Hall on that tragic day? Would we have seen a man in need of help? And what if we could’ve helped him? Would my husband still be here today? What if we all stopped focusing on when it’s too late and started searching for how we can prevent this pain from happening to other people?”
She says even though her husband would think the outcome of the case was justice, there were no winners. “Too often we hear these court cases come out around our country and it’s immediately there’s a judgment made, but there are people here. There were lives destroyed and we need to come together to stop this from happening, stop focusing on the outcome and move forward and look for how we can help other people.”
She created an organization called “Heroes in Blue,” which helps promote police officers’ relationships with the community and supports the families of other officers who’ve been killed in the line of duty.