Hamilton teen murder trial: Jury begins deliberations after closing arguments

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Miquan Hubbard is an alleged co-conspirator of Kameron Tunstall, who is on trial for charges connected to the shooting of a 13-year-old in Hamilton in August 2018.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

On the last day of testimony in the trial of a Hamilton man charged with murder and felonious assault in the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy, the co-defendants were face-to-face in Butler County courtroom on Thursday.

There was final testimony before closing arguments in the case before the jury began deliberations late Thursday afternoon. They went home for the evening at about 6 p.m. Thursday and will resume on Friday morning.

Here are live updates from our reporter who was in the courtroom throughout the trial:

Kameron Tunstall, 19, who is charged with murder and felonious assault, is accused of conspiring with a co-defendant, Miquan Hubbard, in the fatal shooting of Jaraius Gilbert Jr., a Wilson Middle School student, on the night of Aug. 29, 2018. The estimated 15 shots fired by a 9mm gun also hit Datorion Burns twice, but he recovered from his wounds.

Hubbard pleaded guilty in March to murder with a gun specification. Prosecutors say Hubbard, 19, of Village Street, is the shooter. They also allege Tunstall conspired with Hubbard.

When the prosecution rested its case Thursday morning, Tunstall’s defense team announced it planned to call Hubbard to the stand. But Hubbard’s attorney, Chris Pagan, had advised his client not to testify.

While the jury was on lunch break, Hubbard was transported from the county jail and placed in the witness stand in common pleas Judge Charles Pater’s courtroom.

Tunstall, at the defendant’s table in a suit, and Hubbard, in an orange jail jumpsuit, looked at each other, but only briefly. Hubbard listened to the judge and his attorney.

Pagan told Pater that as a part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said if Hubbard testified in the Tunstall trial and lied, the plea deal would be void. He has not yet been sentenced by common pleas Judge Michael Oster. Because of this agreement, Pagan said he had told Hubbard to invoke his fifth amendment right to not incriminate himself if called to testify.

Pater ruled Hubbard had that right, and the defense declined to call Hubbard to testify. Tunstall also told Pater he would not testify in his own defense.

Prosecutors and police say the shooting of Gilbert and Burns was part of an ongoing feud between two sects of the Blood gangs in Hamilton that has been part of gun violence dating back to a fatal shootout at the former Doubles bar in July 2016.

Lora Eisenberg testified she knows Tunstall as “Koby” and Hubbard as “Bally” and was closer to Hubbard in August 2018. On the night of Aug. 29, 2018, Tunstall, Hubbard and driver Jordan Schooler pulled up to a friend’s house. She walked outside to meet them.

Hubbard got out of the car and gave her two hooded sweatshirts, one black and one gray. Schooler testified she drove to the area of South Front Street, and then Tunstall and Hubbard got out wearing sweatshirts. Tunstall returned, and she heard gunshots, then Hubbard came back to the car.

At the time, Eisenberg said she was not aware there had been a shooting on Front Street earlier in the day. When she learned of the shooting, she said she contacted Tunstall by Snapchat.

“Get rid of them,” she said Tunstall told her in the social media conversation.

Eisenberg said when police checked her phone, the Snapchat conversation was gone, noting they can be “cleared” or deleted by the sender or recipient.

A 17-year-old Hamilton girl testified she had a relationship with Schooler and was friends with Tunstall and Hubbard. She said she took her father’s 9mm Glock at least twice and gave it to Tunstall, the first time because his house had been “shot up” and the second time because he had been shot.

The last time she gave the gun to Tunstall, she also provided an extended clip with bullets.

A ballistics expert from BCI testified the 15 casings found at the shooting scene and three were recovered from where the gun stolen from the girl lived matched as being fired from the same gun.

The jury was shown messages between the girl and Tunstall in which she asks him, “please step out of gang (expletive) … I don’t want to lose you.”

An 8-second Snapchat video of Hubbard and Tunstall together “throwing” gang signs was also played for the jury along with a jailhouse call placed to Tunstall two hours before the shooting saying “you know what time it is.”

During closing arguments, Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress said Hubbard fired the shots that killed Gilbert Jr. and injured Burns, but Tunstall was with him “stride for stride.”

Burress pointed out that the cell phone records, video and text messages confirm what the witnesses told the jury.

Defense Attorney Sean Landers said there is not direct evidence to indicate Tunstall conspired with Hubbard. He pointed to Schooler’s testimony in which she repeatedly said she never saw a gun in her car or Tunstall with a gun.

Landers told the jury it was Hubbard who was directing Schooler leading up to the shooting and after.

“Hubbard came back to the car and said ‘go, go, go, get low, get low,’” Landers told the jury. “Not Kameron.”

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