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Hamilton v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

December 9, 2013

Parris HAMILTON, Defendant Below-Appellant
v.
STATE Of Delaware, Plaintiff Below-Appellee.

Submitted: Oct. 9, 2013.

Page 724

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 725

Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County, ID No. 0910017490.

Upon appeal from the Superior Court. AFFIRMED.

Christopher S. Koyste, Esquire, of Wilmington, Delaware for Appellant.

Maria T. Knoll, Esquire, and Andrew J. Vella, Esquire (argued), of the Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware for Appellee.

Before BERGER, JACOBS and RIDGELY, Justices.

RIDGELY, Justice.

Defendant-below/Appellant Parris Hamilton appeals from a Superior Court jury conviction of two counts of Murder First Degree, two counts of Attempted Murder First Degree, two counts of Kidnapping First Degree, one count of Burglary First Degree, and seven counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony (" PFDCF" ). Substantively, Hamilton raises two claims on appeal. Hamilton first contends that the trial court erred when it allowed a nonlegal expert witness to make a misstatement of the law and failed to give a timely and adequate curative instruction. Hamilton also contends that the State failed to prove every element of the burglary charge. We find no merit to Hamilton's claims and affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

For one month in 2009, Hamilton lived with Crystal Moody (" Crystal" ) and her sons Christopher and Tyrone in Wilmington. Crystal leased the property solely in her name. But the cable, internet, and telephone bill was in Hamilton's name. During that time, Crystal and Hamilton's relationship was rocky, due in part to Hamilton's failure to contribute to the household expenses. At the end of the month, Crystal insisted that Hamilton move out. He did so willingly, leaving behind several personal items including a Sony Playstation.

Hamilton tried to reconcile his relationship with Crystal, but she continually refused Hamilton's efforts. On the day of the shootings, Hamilton made several phone calls to Crystal's house, asking to come over. Crystal refused his request because he was drunk. Several hours later, Hamilton came over nonetheless, and one of Crystal's sons let him in the house. Crystal and Tyrone asked Hamilton to leave multiple times, but Hamilton insisted that he wanted to get his Playstation first. Christopher went upstairs to get the Playstation. When Christopher came back downstairs, he saw Hamilton push Crystal down onto the steps. Hamilton then shot Tyrone, Christopher, and Crystal multiple times each. Crystal and Christopher survived the shooting, but Tyrone died from his injuries.

Hamilton was arrested and charged in the Superior Court with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted murder first degree, two counts of first degree kidnapping, one count of first degree burglary, and seven counts of PFDCF. At trial, Hamilton presented a defense of Extreme Emotional Distress (EED), due to ongoing personal matters and the recent death of his grandmother. The State presented testimony from Dr. David E. ...


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