Mobile, Alabama

From the Mobile Press-Register of October 27, 2007

Jury acquits man of murder

Rodney Hamilton told a Mobile jury this week that he shot Miyako Hill five times in self-defense.

On Thursday, after two hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted Hamilton of murder.

Court officials said Friday that during the trial before Circuit Judge John Lockett, prosecutors argued it wasn’t self-defense but an ambush that took the life of Hill as he sat in his Chevrolet Avalanche in the driveway of Hamilton’s Cheyenne Parkway home in Prichard.

It was the city’s first homicide of 2007, occurring nine hours into the new year.

Officials said that in testimony this week before Lockett, Hamilton and Hill knew each other through their patronage of a Prichard barbershop and that around mid-December last year Hamilton borrowed $300 from Hill.

The agreement, witnesses said, was that by Dec. 28 Hamilton would repay the $300, plus an unusually hefty interest — 150.

He couldn’t come up with the money on that date and asked for more time, Hamilton testified, and a day or so later paid Hill the $450, court officials said.

But Hill wasn’t satisfied, Hamilton said, and informed him that since he had been late on repaying the original loan, Hamilton now owed Hill another $450.

Hill then began a campaign of threats and intimidation, Hamilton testified, along with showing up at his house in the middle of the night.

Court officials said Hamilton and some of his family members, including children, testified that Hill returned around 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1.

Hamilton’s 10-year-old daughter testified she was awakened that morning by a man carrying a gun and banging on her bedroom window.

She told her father, and Hamilton confronted Hill outside, according to testimony. Officials said that according to Hamilton, Hill got back into his vehicle but refused to leave the defendant’s property, then began smoking a marijuana cigarette.

Hamilton, 33, said at that point he believed Hill, 28, was going for a gun, and Hamilton shot him with a .38-caliber revolver.



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