Two plead guilty over 2009 slaying

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two of three suspects in a 2009 shooting that left one man deadhave pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the case, and athird is awaiting trial early next year, according to court recordsand officials.

Latonio Terrell Hamilton, 19, of 1067 Union St., pleaded guilty tomanslaughter and conspiracy to commit capital murder in LincolnCounty Circuit Court Wednesday morning in the May 20, 2009,shooting death of Heuck’s Retreat’s James Braswell, 21. One ofHamilton’s co-defendants, 21-year-old TyQwan L. Berry, of 100 FredWalley Drive, pleaded guilty to the same charges Monday.

Trial for the third suspect, 21-year-old Marvin Lamar Truss, of 779Saints Trail, is scheduled for February.

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“It’s been going on for a while … but hopefully we’re close toresolving this case,” said District Attorney Dee Bates.

Conspiracy to commit capital murder and manslaughter each carrypenalties of 20 years imprisonment, leaving Berry and Hamilton toface a possible 40-year sentence. Sentencing has not yet beenimposed.

Braswell was shot and killed in his car on Wednesday night, May 20,2009, as he attempted to speed away from what appears to have beena pre-arranged drug deal with Berry, Hamilton and Truss on JenniferStreet. Police said a meeting on Union Street between the four tookplace earlier in the day, and Braswell was told to return toJennifer Street later that night to complete the deal.

When Braswell arrived that night, one of the three fired into hisvehicle, killing him. Two of Braswell’s female companions riding inthe vehicle drove him to King’s Daughters Medical Center, where hewas pronounced dead.

Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins said Hamiltonadmitted in court Wednesday the three alleged assailants planned tokill and rob Braswell when he arrived.

“The victim was buying marijuana in this case and they shot him.Mr. Hamilton said they had planned to do that,” she said.

Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said neither Berry norHamilton have adult criminal records, but Truss is currentlyserving time for a conviction on armed robbery and possession ofmarijuana charges. Truss was arrested on those charges on March 21,2009 – two months before his alleged involvement in the Braswellkilling.