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Published: Monday, April 22, 2019 @ 2:19 PM
HAMILTON — A trial begins today in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a Hamilton man accused in the August shooting death of a 13-year-old boy on South Front Street.
Kameron Tunstall, 19, who is charged with murder and felonious assault, is accused of conspiring with co-defendant Miquan Hubbard in the fatal shooting of Jaraius Gilbert Jr., a Wilson Middle School student, on the night of Aug. 29, 2018.
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Hubbard pleaded guilty in March to murder with a gun specification. Prosecutors say Hubbard, 19, of Village Street, is the shooter. Prosecutors allege Tunstall conspired with Hubbard, but that Hubbard pulled the trigger.
Sentencing of Hubbard, who faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 16 years, has been scheduled for after Tunstall’s trial. When Hubbard entered the plea on March 7, prosecutors said if he testifies at Tunstall’s trial and lies, committing perjury, his plea deal will be withdrawn.
It is not clear if Hubbard will be called to the stand by either the defense or prosecution in Tunstall’s trial.
Florida defense attorney Sean Landers of the nationally known Jose Baez Law Firm will be representing Tunstall along with local defense attorney Jonathan Fox. The trial is scheduled for four days in Judge Charles Pater’s courtroom.
The prosecution plans to introduce evidence that Tunstall and Hubbard were members of a gang and that several individuals in the group of people that were shot at were members of an opposing gang, according to a motion filed by Assistant Prosecutor Kraig Chadrick.
“Enough’s enough,” Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit said in August after the shooting. “I know the families have had enough. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get these young men to understand exactly the consequences to this and the pain they are causing and have caused.”
Gilbert Jr., an eighth-grader, died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to Butler County Coroner’s Office.
The second victim — Datorion Marcus Burns, 19, of Hamilton — also suffered multiple gunshot wounds, according to Hamilton police. Burns was taken to an area hospital but survived.
It didn’t take long for police to make an arrest. Hours after the shooting Bucheit said officers were relatively sure they knew the identify of the suspects and the violence was an extension of previous incidents that occurred in the neighborhood.
It was not the first time the Gilbert family had been touched by gun violence.
Jaraius Gilbert, the boy’s father, was among several people injured in a shootout in July 2016 at the former Doubles Bar in the city. One person died in that shooting, which sparked a drive-by retaliation shooting several days later that killed two people.
“They knew who they were targeting,” Bucheit said in August. “This is contained, in my opinion, to a relatively small handful of people.”