‘This case is tragic’: Courtroom reacts as Hamilton teen sentenced for killing 13-year-old cousin

A Hamilton man was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 16 years for shooting a 13-year-old boy to death last summer on South Front Street.

The sentence was expected because it was part of a plea deal, but emotions ran high nonetheless during the hearing in Butler County Common Pleas Court. In the end, the mother of the victim and the mother of the shooter hugged and spoke softly to each other outside the courtroom.

Miquan Hubbard, 19, of Village Street, pleaded guilty in March to murder with a gun specification. Hubbard fired 15 shots across the Hamilton street on the night of Aug. 29, hitting and killing Jaraius Gilbert Jr., a Wilson Middle School student. Another teen was also struck and recovered.

MORE: Man pleads guilty in fatal shooting of 13-year-old Hamilton boy

The shooting was part of ongoing gang violence in Hamilton that started with a fatal shootout at the former Doubles bar in July 2016, investigators said.

Last week, co-defendant Kameron Tunstall, 19, was found guilty of multiple counts of murder and felonious assault after a four-day trial. Tunstall provided the 9mm Glock to Hubbard that he used to fire at opposing gang members. Bullets struck hitting Gilbert and Datorion Burns, who survived, according to courtroom evidence.

Gilbert’s family work red shirts picturing him and reading, “Forever 13.”

Randee Stiehl, Gilbert’s mother, sobbed as a family member read her letter to the judge before the sentence was imposed.

“He has committed an unspeakable and senseless criminal act against my son cruelly resulting in his death,” the mother’s letter said. Stiehl said her son was “smart, funny, happy.”

“There is a special bond between a mother and a son,” she said.

Hubbard offered an apology, asking if he could turn and face the courtroom and his cousin’s family.

“From the jump, I never intended to cause anyone their life, let alone my little cousin,” Hubbard said. “At the time I was caught up on the moment and wasn’t fully aware of who was around nor was I thinking of the outcome. I will not do this time, I will use this time to better myself.”

After imposing the sentence of 15 years to life for murder and an additional year for using a gun in the murder, Oster pointed out the justice system cannot reverse the outcome of cases.

“We have a 19-year-old and a 13-year-old. This case is tragic,” Oster said. “My hope is these types of cases can end.”

Tunstall faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 21 years and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

MORE: Inside the courtroom: Weeping, screaming following guilty verdicts in Hamilton teen murder case

About the Author