This essay analyzes the murder committed by Joseph Hall and maintains that General Strain Theory holds utmost significance in assessing the crime. Through the sourcing of first-hand confessions and excerpts from academic materials, the motivations behind the killings shall be explained in detail and resonate with the chosen criminology theory. On May 1, 2011, Hall killed his father with his own gun whilst he was sleeping. Hall grew up in an abusive environment and was known for his violent behavior (Wallace, 2013). Agnew's (1992) Theory is based on the idea that 'when people are treated badly, they may get upset and engage in crime.' Agnew (1992) identifies three major sources of strain, being, the prevention or blockage of achieving positively-valued goals, the removal of positively-valued stimuli, and the threat or presentation of negatively-valued stimuli. When an individual experiences such strain, negative emotions such as anger, frustration, depression, disappointment and fear would be experienced. The feeling most applicable to crime is 'anger' (Agnew, 1992:59). As such, this theory relates to the accumulated strain in Hall, whereby anger was his main responsive emotion, which was highly conducive to the murder he committed. .
Hall was severely abused and had serious emotional and learning disabilities from a brutal and twisted childhood, according to attorneys (Deutsch, 2013). According to the judge, Hall was physically abused by his father regularly, prior to the murder (Lovett, 2013). Hall's stepmother, Krista, told authorities that Hall was hit, kicked and yelled at for getting in his father's way. Social service visited 20 times but failed to remove Hall or his siblings from his father's custody (Crime-sider staff, 2013). 'He said he was gonna turn off the smoke alarms and burn the whole house down when we were asleep,' Hall told detectives that about his father (Wallace, 2013).