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April 16, 2014

Guilty verdict delivered in Jeffersonville murder trial

Antonio Walker will be sentenced to 45 to 65 years in prison

JEFFERSONVILLE — A Clark County jury deliberated for less than two hours Wednesday to find a man guilty of a 2012 murder at a Jeffersonville apartment complex.

Antonio Walker, 29, Louisville, will be sentenced to 45 to 65 years in prison during a hearing next month for fatally shooting Paris Hamilton.

Hamilton, 25, a Jeffersonville father of two, died in the late morning of Nov. 13 after an argument between he and Walker escalated to gunfire at a home in French Quarter Apartments, located off of Middle Road.

After police responded to the home, Walker was found about one half mile from the scene. He first denied his responsibility, but told police later in the day that he had shot Hamilton.

The trial began Monday in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 and Judge with Vicki Carmichael presiding. Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull represented the state, and Walker was represented by court-appointed attorney Nick Karaffa, with assistance from public defender Mitchele Harlan.

Mull said that neither Walker or Hamilton lived at the home where the incident occurred, but both had arrived in the morning hours to give rides to people who were in the apartment.

Mull said at time of the shooting that approximately 10 people were in the home, but only a man, who has fled the state, and a woman, who has since died, were witness to the shooting.

During closing remarks Wednesday, Mull explained to the jury of seven women and five men that the trajectory of the five bullets fired into Hamilton’s body should rule out the defense’s arguments of self defense.

The ballistics evidence revealed that Walker did not fire the gun while the men were close enough to be engaged in a physical altercation that may have put Walker in fear of his own well-being, Mull argued.

He said the first bullet traveled through Hamilton’s heart and put him on the ground. The remaining four bullets traveled through Hamilton in an upward direction, which shows he was lying on the ground when the shots were fired.

Mull told the jurors that they should find Walker guilty of murder and not lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter or reckless homicide. A person can be charged with voluntary manslaughter when “sudden heat” is found to be an element of a murder, such as a person being provoked into rage or jealous. Reckless homicide would be appropriate for a person who causes a death while driving at an excessively high rate of speed or a circumstance resulting in the unintentional death of another.

“I was pleased with the verdict. It was the appropriate one,“ Mull said. “The evidence in the case showed Paris [Hamilton] was shot in the back twice while he was lying on the ground. He was shot in the side while he was lying on the ground. There was no evidence that there was any sort of justification for that shooting at all.”

Karaffa, who was trying his first murder case, told the jurors that Walker was forced to defend himself at the time of the shooting.

“Antonio Walker is not guilty of murder,” he said during closing remarks. “The evidence dose not point that way.”

He impressed upon the jury that the prosecution failed to prove its case.

“There is reasonable doubt all over the place. There are too many ‘what ifs,’” Karaffa said.

After the verdict was delivered, Karaffa said he had hoped to show the jury that while Walker may have pulled the trigger, it was wrong to convict him of murder.

“Obviously, we are disappointed,” Karaffa said. “We thought this wasn’t a crime committed knowingly or intentionally, but we respect the jury’s decision.”

Walker is scheduled to be sentenced May 19 in the circuit court.

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