Man pleads guilty to attempted murder in shootout with deputies

Published 1:10 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Bogue Chitto man who pleaded guilty to attempted murder today in Lincoln County Circuit Court will be sentenced next week.

Christopher Leigh Hamilton, 41, pleaded guilty today before Judge Michael Taylor to two counts of attempted murder.

District Attorney Dee Bates recounted the events of Dec. 3, 2015, during the plea hearing.

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He said Hamilton stepped out of the residence at 421 River Road Drive wearing a bulletproof vest and brandishing a 9mm pistol. Hamilton fired repeatedly on Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies Wade Hinshaw, Stewart Thornton and Ian Smith as they attempted to serve warrants on Hamilton, Bates said.

Deputies took cover behind trees and their vehicles and returned fire.

Hamilton then took an assault rifle from a vehicle on the property and continued his attack on the officers. The firefight concluded when Hamilton was struck in the arm by return fire from one of the deputies.

Hamilton was charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one charge of shooting into a motor vehicle.

When Hamilton shuffled his chained feet into court this morning dressed in a white T-shirt and orange pants, his right wrist was shackled to his waist and his left arm was in a cast and a sling from the shooting in 2015. He stood by his attorney Ivan Burghard.

LCSO deputies and Sheriff Steve Rushing stood at the courtroom door and around the edges of the room.

Taylor told Hamilton he could decide to withdraw his plea and proceed toward a jury trial, which would take place later in the afternoon, if he chose that route. The burden of proof was on the state. Did Hamilton think the state, should they proceed with a trial, could prove its case against him? “Yes, sir.”

Hamilton said he understood that the two charges of attempted murder carried a sentence of 20 years to life if found guilty by a jury, or 20 years to “something less than life”, said Taylor, if sentenced by the judge.

“How do you wish to plead on charge one?” Guilty. “On charge two?” Guilty.

Taylor accepted Hamilton’s pleas of guilty, requested a standard pre-sentencing investigation by the Mississippi Department of Corrections, and scheduled sentencing for 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Because Hamilton pleaded guilty to the two counts of attempted murder, Bates said the state would not prosecute the other charges.

Bates added that the state intends to introduce video and photos at the sentencing. Burghard said the defense would also introduce Hamilton’s medical records at that time.

Hamilton remains in the Lincoln County Jail.

Christopher Hamilton