MCLOUD, Okla. (KFOR) —An Oklahoma woman who served 13 years in prison for permitting child abuse while her boyfriend served just two years behind bars for abusing her children, is now a free woman after Governor Kevin Stitt commuted her 30-year sentence.
On Friday morning, Tondalao Hall walked out of the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center as a free woman.
It was a bittersweet moment as she waved goodbye to the women behind the fence in the prison yard.
“I love them ladies. I love the staff members. I love them. I'm going to miss them,” Hall told News 4.
Hall spent 13 years at Mabel Bassett. She found out Thursday that Governor Kevin Stitt approved the pardon and parole board’s recommendation that Hall’s sentence be commuted.
“I was shocked, thankful, appreciative that I could be with my family,” Hall said.
Hall was sentenced in 2006 after pleading guilty to failing to protect two children who were abused by her boyfriend, Robert Braxton, Jr.
Braxton pleaded guilty and was released on probation after receiving credit for two years he had already spent in jail.
Hall ultimately served 15 years behind bars over the abuse by her former boyfriend.
The Pardon and Parole Board has twice rejected Hall’s previous commutation requests.
The ACLU took on Hall’s case in January 2018. Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform started a campaign against Oklahoma’s failure-to-protect law which affects Hall and several other Oklahoma women in similar situations.
The Pardon and Parole Board ruled to advance Tondalao Hall’s case to the second stage of consideration back in July 2019. Then in October, the board unanimously voted for Hall’s commutation.
In a rare letter to the Pardon and Parole Board from Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, he referenced Hall’s 2006 testimony, which he wrote was inconsistent with previous statements regarding Braxton’s involvement in the abuse of her children. He goes on to reference a letter written by Hall to Judge Elliot in 2009, apologizing for that testimony.
Prater ultimately recommended Hall be considered for commutation.
“I didn't think it would come this early. I was surprised when I first heard about it,” Robert Hall, Tondalao’s teenage son, said.
Robert was only 18-months-old when his mom was incarcerated, and his sister, Kia, was only four-months-old.
"I'm excited. It's something new,” Kia Hall said. It's going to be something very different."
Tondalao’s father, Wazell Hall, is also celebrating his daughter’s release after all these years.
"God has blessed me. One thing I asked him to do is to let me see her out of prison before I leave this world,” he said.
Hall’s family members told News 4 this is the best early Christmas present they could have asked for.
"God is able. God is truly able,” Tondalao said.
Hall said she is looking forward to pursuing a career in cosmetology after going through cosmetology school while she was incarcerated.