Life Sentence for Hamilton in "Round Hotel" Murders

UPDATED 12.20.2011 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man was sentenced to life behind bars this afternoon for a double murder that shocked the Tennessee strip.

Victor Hamilton was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder during his trial in October.

Hamilton is accused of killing two men at an after hours party at the old round Holiday Inn back in August 2009. Otis Stewart and Earl Wright were found dead on the ballroom floor.
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UPDATED 2:45pm by Julie Montanaro

A jury has reached a verdict in the double murder trial of Victor Hamilton.

The jury deliberated for about three hours.

Hamilton was found guilty in the murders of Otis Stewart and Earl Wright. He was also found guilty of shooting into an occupied building and guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Victor Hamilton was shaking his head in disbelief as the jury left the courtroom.

His sentencing has been set for December 20th at 3pm.

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UPDATED 11:55am by Julie Montanaro

A jury is now deliberating in the double murder trial of Victor Hamilton. The 6 person jury (four women and two men) started its deliberations at about 11:40 this morning.

Jurors will have to make decisions on four charges: two counts of first degree murder, shooting into an occupied building and aggravated battery with a firearm.

We will keep you posted on a verdict.

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UPDATED 7:10pm

The defense rested its case this afternoon. Closing arguments are scheduled to begin at 9am Thursday and the jury could begin deliberating by lunchtime.

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[UPDATE] 11-9 1:15pm -

A Tallahassee man is now on trial, accused of killing two men at an after hours party on the Tennessee Street strip. Victor Hamilton could face life in prison if he's convicted. The state has rested its case, but the defense continues to call witnesses.

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UPDATED 11.8.2011 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is now on trial for a double murder that stunned the Tennessee strip.

Victor Hamilton is accused of opening fire in a crowded ballroom but so far, none of the witnesses on the stand has fingered him as the triggerman.

Victor Hamilton is accused of opening fire at an after hours party. When it was all over, 26 year old Earl Wright was dead in the hallway and 25 year old Otis Stewart was dead on the ballroom floor.

The medical examiner testified Stewart was shot multiple times at close range just nine to 24 inches away.

The shooting happened at the old round Holiday Inn on West Tennessee Street back in August 2009. A crime scene technician testified there were bullet holes in the ceiling, walls, baseboards and even in some adjoining rooms.

The question for jurors? Who fired them? Prosecutors contend Hamilton's friend was getting pummeled in a fight, so he walked out, retrieved a gun from his car, then returned and started firing.

Prosecutors say hotel surveillance video clearly shows Hamilton walking out and then rushing back inside.

One party-goer who police say initially identified Hamilton took the stand and said she was drinking and smoking marijuana that night and couldn't remember.

Another man - who initially identified the gunman in the surveillance video - couldn't remember either and defense attorneys point out he never picked Hamilton out of a photo lineup.

Investigator Vincent Boccio searched Hamilton's home on Crescent Hill Drive a few days after the murder and found two Glock cases, a box of ammunition and a bag full of loose 9mm rounds. Prosecutors contend those are the same kind of bullets that killed Wright and Stewart in that hotel basement.

Testimony in the case is scheduled to continue in the morning.
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[UPDATE] Nov. 8, 2011 - Noon

A Tallahassee man is now on trial, accused of killing two men at an after hours party on the Tennessee Street strip. Victor Hamilton could face life in prison if he's convicted.

Victor Hamilton is accused of killing Otis Stewart and Earl Wright back in August, 2009.

Prosecutors contend Hamilton's friend was involved in a fist fight at a party at the old round Holiday Inn.

Prosecutors say Hamilton got his gun from his car, returned and started firing.

Crime scene techs say there were bullet holes in the walls, ceiling and floor boards..and pictures showed both men dead on the tile floor.

There were at least a hundred people there, but two people who identified Hamilton as the gunman that night took the stand today and now say they can't remember and can't positively identify him. Defense attorneys are counting on that. They say there was chaos that night and no way to know who fired the fatal shots.

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[UPDATE] Nov. 8, 2011 - 10:30am

William Kornegay is with TPD 's forensic unit. He photographed the crime scene. Photos show both men dead in pools of blood on the tile floor. One was shot in the hallway. The other was shot in the ballroom. Kornegay says he recovered at least nine bullets or fragments in the hallway and more in the ballroom. Kornegay says there were bullet holes in the ceiling, walls, and baseboards. Kornegay says there were even some bullets and fragments found in adjoining rooms.

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[UPDATE] Nov. 8, 2011 - 9:55am

The hotel manager Lewis McElwain says he went down to the banquet room to break up a fight. He heard someone say "I got one. I got one." Then he said he heard gunfire. McElwain says he started running down the hall toward the staircase and heard several shots. Some of the bullet casings were hitting him in the back as he ran.

McElwain says he didn't realize until hours later that a bullet grazed his foot and actually went in and out of his shoe. McElwain says after he was upstairs he heard more shots that sounded like they were in the parking lot. He says he "never looked" at the shooter and could not identify him.
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UPDATED 11.8.2011

Defense attorney Clyde Taylor says no one knows who fired the fatal shots that night. Taylor says there are two other men who may have fired the shots. Taylor says there was chaos inside with chairs and punches being thrown. Taylor says the eyewitness accounts are all suspect because "You don't go to an after hours party to sip lemonade."

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[UPDATE] Nov. 8, 2011 - 9:25am

Jurors are now seated in courtroom 2B to hear evidence in the double murder trial of Victor Hamilton. Hamilton is accused of killing Otis Stewart and Earl Wright in the banquet room of a Tennessee Street hotel back in August 2009.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman is making opening statements to the jury. Cappleman says the shooting happened at an after hours party in front of more than 100 people. Cappleman says Hamilton's friend was in a fight and Hamilton went out to retrieve his gun. Cappleman says Hamilton walked into the hotel hallway and fired several shots into the ceiling and into the crowd. Cappleman says Earl Wright was shot and killed in the hallway and witnesses say someone shot Otis Stewart execution style seconds later. Cappleman says there may have been two shooters that night, but both used Hamilton's gun and were killed with the same type of Starline ammunition.

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September 30, 2011 by Julie Montanaro

Victor Hamilton was in court this afternoon.

He was scheduled to stand trial next week for a double murder in August 2009.

That trial has been delayed and attorneys will meet Monday to try to agree on a new date.

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The accused trigger-man in a shocking double murder faces a judge this morning.

Victor Hamilton is accused of killing two men during an after hours party at the old round Holiday Inn last summer.

Ours were the only cameras rolling as Hamilton walked into court this morning.

The 23 year old is accused of opening fire in the banquet room of the Hotel on Capitol Hill last August, a shooting which cost 25- year-old Otis Stewart and 26-year-old Earl Wright their lives.

Hamilton initially denied being at the party, but police say he changed his story when confronted with surveillance footage.

Hamilton will be back in court in two weeks.

The judge says they hope to set a time line for his trial then.


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