2016 Hamilton slaying: Defense wants evidence suppressed, murder case dismissed

Mychel King and his attorney Lawrence Hawkins III were in Butler County Common Pleas Court Thursday for King's arraignment. King is charged with aggravated murder in the 2016 shooting death of Jaylon Knight. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Mychel King and his attorney Lawrence Hawkins III were in Butler County Common Pleas Court Thursday for King's arraignment. King is charged with aggravated murder in the 2016 shooting death of Jaylon Knight. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Statements, DNA evidence were improperly obtained, defense attorney claims.

A Hamilton man charged in December for the 2016 shooting that killed a Fairfield High School senior is scheduled to be in court twice this month for hearings on evidence the defense wants tossed at trial.

Mychel King, 24, was arrested Dec. 8 after he was indicted for the death of Jaylon Knight, who was found dead on March 11, 2016, in a car on Charles Street.

Jaylon Knight SUBMITTED
Jaylon Knight SUBMITTED

King, of Williams Avenue, is charged with murder, aggravated murder, four counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of felonious assault and one count of probation violation.

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18-year-old Knight died in a car in the 300 block of Charles Street. The vehicle was in front of a house, just short of striking the structure. Knight was slumped over the steering wheel with a large amount of blood inside the vehicle, police said at the time of his death.

King has been held in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $650,000 bond since his arrest. He is scheduled for trial on Aug. 9.

Defense attorney Lawrence Hawkins III has filed a motion for DNA evidence and statements to be suppressed so that they can not be used at trial or the case to be dismissed for lack of evidence.

Hamilton police obtained a shoe from King’s porch and DNA from him without a proper search warrant and without probable cause, according to Hawkins.

King was also interrogated twice by detectives in March 13, 2020 and Sept. 15, 2020 without first reading him his Miranda rights, Hawkins says in the motion.

“The officer asked the defendant questions in an attempt to illicit incriminating response, thus qualifying as an interrogation, both times. These actions were improper and unconstitutional. The defendant made statements that (were) incriminating. This shows the violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights had a prejudicial impact on him,” Hawkins said in the motion.

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The defense attorney argues King’s statements, all DNA evidence, and the shoe should be suppressed because of the “unconstitutional actions by police, and the case be dismissed for lack of evidence.”

The prosecution says the actions by police when questioning King were proper and his rights were not violated. King was read his rights and signed a Miranda warning card before both interviews. Near the end of the first interview, King said, “I need a lawyer,” and questioning ended.

There was a six-month break in questioning of King when he was released from the jail and returned to jail. But during the second interview he again willingly waived his rights, according to prosecutors.

“Given that the Defendant was interviewed twice, six months apart. Given the fact the Defendant was Mirandized both times and knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived those rights. Given the fact that zero evidence has been elicited the statements made by the defendant were not voluntary. Given the fact that defendant was released not once, but twice from the Butler County Jail during the months of March and September of 2020. Finally, given the fact the defendant actually had the benefit of court appointed counsel during this time, the State of Ohio respectfully requests the court overrule the defendant’s motion to suppress regarding statements,” Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress wrote in response.

Judge Keith Spaeth has scheduled a hearing for June 10 concerning King’s statements to police. Because Spaeth signed the search warrants in question, Judge Dan Haughey will rule on those issues. A hearing has been scheduled for June 29.

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