A jury spent just a few hours Thursday in Allen Superior Court to decide Kevin Hamilton was guilty of murder and robbery during a drug deal gone bad last August at Woodbridge Apartments.
Kevin Hamilton, 18, of the 8400 block of Lionsgate Run, was found guilty of murder, felony murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 2 felony, and a firearm enhancement for using a gun during the commission of the offense. Hamilton faces a lifetime behind bars.
Brian Quintana, 18, was shot by Hamilton at about 10 p.m. Aug. 14 on River Run Trail during a drug deal. Hamilton and another juvenile exchanged text messages at about 8 p.m. that night planning the robbery of marijuana from Quintana because the other juvenile had blamed Quintana for shorting him during a previous sale.
It was those text messages that revealed to the jury the intent to rob Quintana, according to Steve Godfrey, chief counsel for the Allen County Prosecutor's Office.
"They're pretty nasty," Godfrey said. "The text messages show the real Kevin Hamilton. It's unnerving."
After the robbery and shooting, the two youths ran toward a car that was parked away from Woodbridge Apartments. A nearby resident saw them running, and when they got into an SUV and tried to leave the area, he blocked the only driveway preventing their escape.
Godfrey also said Hamilton's "watered-down version" of events as he took the stand in his own defense Wednesday afternoon probably played a factor in the quick verdict.
Hamilton told police the night of the shooting that he just shot the gun at the car and he didn't know he had struck Quintana.
Hamilton sat expressionless as the verdict was read. His family and Quintana's family were the only other occupants in the gallery, and they sat quietly as well. It wasn't until Quintana's family began to leave the courtroom that the verdict became reality for Quintana's father who became misty-eyed and thanked prosecutors and detectives for their hard work.
Sentencing is April 11 before Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull.