A day after allegedly confessing to the murder of Simone Hackett, Clevaughn Hamilton was yesterday charged with the crime.
Hamilton, 37, of 96 Catherine, Mahaicony, was arraigned at the Better Hope Community Centre, where his lawyer Patrice Henry said he would challenge the alleged confession since it was given while his client was without legal representation.
While Hamilton was charged, police yesterday reported the recovery of a bloodstained vehicle, which they suspect was used in the commission of the crime. A taxi driver, who is believed to have aided Hamilton, is wanted for questioning but remains on the run.
The charge against Hamilton states that between April 16th and April 19th, at Cummings Lodge, he murdered 25-year-old Hackett, of ‘C’ Field, Sophia, with whom he shared a child.
On Saturday, April 16th, around 8.30pm, Hackett had left her Sophia home to pick up a package that she was told was sent for her son, who was celebrating his birthday on the following day. On Sunday, Hackett’s sister was due to get married and she was to serve as the Maid of Honour. However, Hackett did not return home and her body was not found until April 19th, when it was discovered by two schoolboys in a trench between Third and Fourth streets, Cummings Lodge.
Hamilton, a miner, was not required to plea to the charge, which was read to him by Magistrate Zamilla Ally-Seepaul.
Police Prosecutor David Goodridge told the court that Hamilton lured Hackett to her death. He said the man made contact with Hackett, telling her that she had to collect a package from a man, whose name was given as ‘Dexter.’ Instead, he allegedly met her and inflicted several stab wounds about her body and slashed her throat.
Hamilton admitted to the police that he killed Hackett, which led to his arrest and the charge, the prosecutor told the court.
Henry, who appeared just after a date was set for the next hearing, told the court that he would be challenging the alleged confession, while noting that it was made without legal representation. Henry said that he was given the runaround by the police, who he said at times barred him from meeting his client while he was in police custody.
Henry said when he finally got a chance to speak to his client, he had observed swelling on his lips.
According to the lawyer, his client was allegedly beaten by inmates at the Sparendaam lock-ups, while he was in custody.
Hamilton was remanded to prison by the magistrate, who adjourned the case until May 18th for report.
As the police truck that transported Hamilton arrived at the Better Hope Community Centre, the family of Hackett gathered around him and while officers escorted him into courtroom, they shouted, “murder” and “heartless.”
After the arraignment, the families of the deceased and the accused clashed as Hackett’s foster mother and sisters chastised members of Hamilton’s family, while accusing them of deception.
“He should have never taken her life! He is not her father and he never gave her life!” Hackett’s sister, who was upset, said.
Hackett’s foster mother, who was overcome by grief, told the family that she will make sure that justice is served for her child and she will look after her grandchild in the absence of his mother. She said she gave her daughter a nice send off at her funeral, which was Thursday, and now justice must be served.
Hamilton’s sister, who was at court in support of her brother, began to cry after hearing the remarks of Hackett’s family. “Oh my brother! Oh my brother!” she cried as she was supported by other relatives.
After word spread that Hamilton was allegedly beaten by other inmates in the lock-ups, onlookers shouted that they should beat him again.
Meanwhile, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum told Stabroek News yesterday that the vehicle, suspected to have been used in the commission of the crime, was discovered yesterday by the police in Mahdia.
Blanhum said the vehicle was found abandoned at Mahdia and there were visible bloodstains on the seats. Blanhum said as the probe is ongoing, the taxi driver, who is wanted for questioning, remains on the run.