“Attorneys for Rodney Allen Hamilton, the online pastor and married father of two young sons, said he is the victim of overzealous homicide detectives and medical expert. But Gwinnett County Cpl. Deon Washington said it’s Hamilton’s niece, Tamiah, who was the victim of murder.
With Hamilton at the defendant’s table and Hamilton’s wife Tamara taking diligent notes during a probable cause hearing, the lead investigator explained why the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide—even though it’s not clear what caused the 3 year old’s death.
“She died from a severe closed head trauma that lead to swelling and bleeding on the brain. The medical examiner said that kind of serious injury came at the hands of someone else, not an accidental fall, but from someone striking you or hitting you with something,” Cpl. Washington said in court.
The investigator said when Hamilton took Tamiah to the hospital on January 30, the little girl’s body was limp, her eyes were shut and tongue was exposed, even though her jaw was clamped shut. Her condition prompted doctors to call police.
Cpl. Washington said Hamilton was the only adult with the 3 year old in the 24 hours before her death. Washington said it took months to pull all of the evidence together from the autopsy. He charged Hamilton with murder and child cruelty on April 30.
Defense attorneys insist the police and the medical experts have made a “horrific mistake.”
“This man is a pastor, a husband with two young kids of his own. He’s taken in other people’s kids and ministers to people through an on-line blog. He works with the Home Owners Association. He is not a bad man or a bad father,” attorney Jerome Lee told FOX 5’s Portia Bruner after a Magistrate bound the case over to Superior Court.
Lee said Tamiah’s fatal injury could be explained by an accidental fall a week prior to her death. He also said there are other pre-existing health conditions related to Tamiah being exposed to cocaine as a fetus. He said police and doctors rushed to judgement. But the lead investigator said there were no signs or symptoms of prior injuries.
Defense attorneys said the Hamiltons adopted Tamiah when she was 18 months old. They also adopted her younger sister–who was returned to the Foster Care System in Massachusetts after Tamiah’s death. Hamilton remains at the Gwinnett County jail–not far from his own home in Lawrenceville.”