Prosecution, defense rest cases in Olde Pink House trial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Prosecution, defense rest cases in Olde Pink House trial


After calling only two witnesses, the defense rested its case in the Olde Pink House standoff trial Friday afternoon.

One of those witnesses was Savannah-Chatham Detective Sam Uribe, who interviewed the then-12-year-old boy allegedly held hostage in his Milton Street home the night before the standoff.

Prosecutors say the child, Earl David Hamilton, and his father, Earl Hamilton Jr. were the targets of a violent home invasion because Kevin Brooks and Brian Jones believed the elder Hamilton to be a drug dealer. Earl Hamilton Jr. currently is serving probation for drug charges.

Kevin Brooks and Brian Jones are accused of false imprisonment, robbery and aggravated assault. Brooks also is charged with kidnapping. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Brooks and Jones, at gunpoint, kept the father and son in their home overnight and on the morning of May 17 forced the elder Hamilton to drive downtown to withdraw cash from his credit union. Hamilton spotted officer Trina Mayes near the Broughton Street Starbucks and jumped out of his car, screaming that Brooks was going to kill him and had his son. Mayes fired her gun at the car, and Brooks fled into the Olde Pink House. It took a SWAT team hours to find him and get him out.

When the younger Hamilton -- known as "Little Earl" took the stand yesterday, he claimed his father didn't touch drugs. But Uribe testified Friday that the Little Earl confided to her that his father had been a drug user. An audio recording of Uribe's conversation with the child was played in court.

Friday morning, another Savannah-Chatham detective, Jonathan Puhala, took the stand for the prosecution. He testified that Jones, after he was tracked down in the woods near Liberty City, at first claimed he didn't have anything to do with the Milton Street home invasion – and that he'd only run from officers because he'd been smoking marijuana. But Puhala said he soon changed his story, confessing that he and Brooks broke into Hamilton's home to find drugs.

Prosecutors say Jones held the boy in his Milton Street home while Brooks and the elder Hamilton drove to the credit union.

"The son, I guess, asked Mr. Jones not to take his Xbox," Puhala testified. "And Mr. Jones told him, ‘I'm not here for you. I'm not going to take any of your things.' And he explained that his father is not a good person, not a bad person, but that he did some things in his past and that's why they were there."

Also Friday, prosecutors introduced a similar robbery, in Pooler, that happened a little over a month before the Olde Pink House incident.

Pooler Police Detective Randall Lindler said investigators believe Brooks took part in that crime. Lindler said the victim, who also is serving out a drug sentence, picked Brooks' photo out of a lineup.

Closing arguments are scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday at the Chatham County Courthouse.

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