RIDGELAND, SC (Aug. 1, 2019) – A Jasper County man who shot and killed a friend after an all-day party has been sent to prison.
Alvin Mitchell, 28, was found guilty Thursday of the murder of Darrell Lewis Hamilton of the Yemassee area, who was 31 when he was killed May 5, 2017. A jury of four men and eight women also found Mitchell guilty of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime following a three-day trial at the Jasper County Courthouse.
Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison.
“Darrell Hamilton’s murder was a cold, calculated act by a man pretending to be his friend,” said Dustin Whetsel of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case, along with Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton. “Alvin Mitchell partied all night with Darrell Hamilton, but at the end of the day, he wanted something Darrell Hamilton had. He killed him for a few thousand dollars.”
Mitchell, Hamilton and a third man spent much of May 4 at Hamilton’s home and riding around in a truck loaned to Hamilton. In the early morning hours of May 5, the trio dropped the third man off at his home in Point South.
At about 5 a.m., Jasper County 9-1-1 operators received two calls reporting an apparent automobile accident near the intersection of Rosemary Road and Point South Road, a short distance from the third man’s home. Emergency responders and law enforcement officers found Hamilton dead in the driver’s seat, his foot on the gas pedal and the truck’s engine still running. Mitchell was not at the scene.
Hamilton had been shot three times, and an autopsy at the Medical University of South Carolina confirmed one of the wounds caused his death.
S.C. State Law Enforcement Division investigators found a few blood-covered $100 bills in the truck and Hamilton’s pocket, along with several shell casings from a .45-caliber handgun. They also found in the roadway a house key that belonged to Mitchell’s girlfriend. It was covered in Hamilton’s blood.
Bullets recovered from Hamilton’s body and the driver’s side door were determined to have been fired from the same gun, and the .45-caliber shell casings in the truck matched casings found at Hamilton’s home, where the men had been firing guns that night.
Investigators found drops of Mitchell’s blood at an abandoned home near the murder scene where he has been known to hang out. They also found articles of his clothing and evidence he had trimmed his beard in an attempt to change his appearance.
Mitchell then fled to Columbia.
Whetsel told jurors in his closing argument that, “You take all of this evidence together, there’s one conclusion and one person that explains all of this. That’s Alvin Mitchell.”
The jury deliberated 24 minutes before reaching its verdict. Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen delivered the sentence – life in prison for the murder charge, plus five years for the charge of possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime.
Whetsel and Thornton are members of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. The team has earned convictions against 333 of the 347 defendants it has prosecuted since the unit’s formation in late 2008.