Suspects found guilty in Pink House standoff case - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Jurors return guilty verdict in standoff case

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

It took a jury four hours to convict Kevin Brooks and Brian Jones of armed robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and false imprisonment in the Olde Pink House standoff case.

Brooks and Jones were accused of breaking into Earl Hamilton Jr.'s Milton Street home May 16 because they believed he was a drug dealer. Prosecutors say the robbers found neither cash nor large amounts of drugs in his house, so Brooks forced Hamilton to drive to his credit union in downtown Savannah the next morning to withdraw money. Jones held Hamilton's 12-year-old son hostage overnight and while Brooks and Hamilton drove downtown the next morning.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys said Hamilton was the real criminal, claiming the Pink House standoff didn't stem from a home invasion but was part of a drug deal gone wrong. They told the jury Hamilton only pretended to have been kidnapped - that he nearly ran down Savannah-Chatham police officer Trina Mayes on Broughton Street as an elaborate ruse to get out of a drug debt.

"I just think he's not being truthful," attorney Richard Darden said. "If he told the truth, he'd go to jail."

Hamilton currently is on probation for cocaine possession, and a drug charge would have sent him back to prison. But in testimony last week, Hamilton said he was afraid for his life and the life of his son.

"I just hit the gas and made a U-turn and went straight at her," he said, remembering nearly running down Mayes as she walked to the Broughton Street Starbucks for tea. "She jumped back and pulled her weapon, and jumped up and throwed (sic) my hands in the air and said, 'They got a gun. They got a gun.'"

Mayes fired her weapon, and Brooks took off, running to hide in the Olde Pink House and dropping a handgun behind him. In closing arguments, the defense claimed that weapon didn't belong to Brooks but was Hamilton's instead.

Hamilton maintains he was a victim, targeted not because he sold drugs but because, he says, his son is a rapper who paid all his bills.

"He give me whatever I ask for," Hamilton testified.

The jury didn't find enough evidence to support the charge that Brooks kidnapped Hamilton and found him not guilty on that count. Brooks and Hamilton both were found not guilty on charges of assaulting Hamilton's 12-year-old son.

Neither Hamilton nor his sons were in court for the verdict Monday.

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