Hamilton teen trial: Witnesses testify about the night a 13-year-old was gunned down

Kameron Tunstall, charged with shooting death of Jaraius Gilbert, appeared for a pretrial hearing in Judge Charles Pater’s courtroom in Butler County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, Oct. 16 in Hamilton. His trial began Monday on Butler County Common Pleas Court. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Kameron Tunstall, charged with shooting death of Jaraius Gilbert, appeared for a pretrial hearing in Judge Charles Pater’s courtroom in Butler County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, Oct. 16 in Hamilton. His trial began Monday on Butler County Common Pleas Court. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The first witness in the trial of a Hamilton man accused in the August 2018 shooting death of a 13-year-old boy on South Front Street told the jury she picked up the co-defendants and heard shots but didn’t see a gun in her Lexus.

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.

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 and that Hubbard pulled the trigger.

Jordan Schooler took that stand in Butler County Common Pleas Court late Monday afternoon and had to be told several times by Judge Charles Pater to speak up.

Schooler said on Aug. 29, she picked up Tunstall and Hubbard from Hamilton High Schoolbefore they drove around, smoked some marijuana and made delivery to family and friends.

Eventually they ended up on South Front Street, where a group was gathered. Schooler said she parked on Washington and both Tunstall and Hubbard got out wearing sweatshirts with the hoods up.

“Gunshots,” Schooler answered when asked what she heard.

She said Tunstall had returned to the car, then she heard the shots after Hubbard returned.

“Told me to take off,” Schooler said when asked what happened next.

During cross examination by Tunstall’s attorney, Sean Landers, Schooler said she never saw Tunstall possess a firearm in her car or hand off a gun to Hubbard. But she said she knew of a gun that had been given to Tunstall by a girl who took it from her father.

Pater took a break during that Monday testimony, and when he returned, he instructed those in the gallery that cell phones would no longer be permitted in the courtroom and would have to be left with deputies. Pater’s bailiff said he made the the rule “for the privacy of the jurors.”

A series of Hamilton police officers who responded to the 800 block of South Front Street on Aug. 29 and found Gilbert suffering from multiple gunshot wounds testified Tuesday.

Officer Robert Barker said he was the first officer on the scene. He saw Gilbert on the ground and went to his aid, beginning chest compressions, he said.

Barker said Gilbert had multiple holes in his body.

“I did not see any breathing whatsoever,” he said.

Officer Casey Johnson said he found a second victim, Datorion Burns, a block away from the shooting scene suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The jury was shown photos of Burns, who has recovered, in his hospital bed with closeups of the wounds.

Johnson also testified about the department’s investigation of two sects of the Bloods gang, the “30s” and the “pirus” who he saidhave been feuding for years in Hamilton.

“They have been feuding with each other. Goes back to at least the shooing at Doubles if not before that,”Johnson said.

He named several people believed to be part of the rival gangs. Londale Harvey, who was shot to death in January in the Lindenwald neighborhood, was one Johnson named.

The prosecution is outlining a string of evidence, including a jail house call, witnesses and social media that it says implicates Tunstall as a gang member with ties to the July 2016 shootout at the Former Doubles Bar on Main Street.

The trial continues today.

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