As soon as Butler County Judge Charles Pater started reading the seven guilty verdicts Friday morning, several people rushed out of the Butler County courtroom and could be heard weeping and screaming as Pater continued.
When the hearing concluded, several of those in the courtroom yelled at Butler County sheriff deputies who were standing in the hallway. Then those deputies escorted the jurors down a private elevator and walked them to their cars.
The fifth day of the murder trial for Kameron Tunstall, 19, of Hamilton, was filled with emotion.
MORE COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL
• Final testimony and closing arguments happen on Thursday
• Reluctant witness testifies about what happened in the shooting
• Witnesses testify about the night a 13-year-old was gunned down
Tunstall was found guilty on all seven counts, including murder, and since two of the charges include gun specifications, he faces a minimum of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 21 years, said Kraig Chadrick, assistant Butler County prosecuting attorney.
Tunstall, dressed in a suit, was handcuffed before he looked back at his family and was led out of the courtroom. Pater revoked bond and set Tunstall’s sentencing for 2 p.m. on May 28.
Chadrick called the guilty verdicts “just” and said the jurors followed the “overwhelming” evidence.
It took the jury less than two hours to convict Tunstall for his involvement in the shooting death of a 13-year-old. Tunstall, 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.
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.
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.”
Chadwick said Hubbard and Tunstall “threw the rest of their lives away” over “something really silly, something stupid. At the end of the day, there really are no winners in this one.”
He called it “a tragic situation” that altered the course of three lives and the lives of their families.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser praised the work of his staff and the Hamilton Police Department for collecting, then presenting the evidence.
“We’re only as good as the facts,” Gmoser said while sitting in his office. “If we don’t get the facts, you’re asking me, ‘Mr. Gmoser, what happened? How did your prosecutor lose that case?’”
Gmoser hopes other gang members in the county change their lifestyles.
“The message in Butler County is really simple: If you want to be a gang banger here, look ahead because you’re going to be spending your life in prison,” he said.