Nevada Supreme Court upholds death sentence in rape-murder of Reno girl
April 9, 2018
The Nevada Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the petition to overturn Tamir Hamilton's conviction and death sentence.
He was convicted of the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl and sentenced to death by a Washoe District Court jury.
Hamilton argued his legal counsel was ineffective for presenting an insanity defense that wasn't supported by the evidence or the defense expert. He argued a more plausible defense would have been that his chronic drug use made him unable to form the intent needed to commit first-degree murder. He also argued that the defense should have found witnesses to support his arguments mitigating the case against him.
But the high court agreed with prosecutors that Hamilton's defense team of multiple lawyers an investigator and mitigation specialist interviewed dozens of witnesses and uncovered thousands of pages of juvenile records from California. The court ruled the investigation was reasonable.
The justices concluded that there is not a reasonable probability that the trial results would have been different had counsel presented everything Hamilton requested in his petition.
"Hamilton brutally raped and murdered the victim, nearly severing her head," they wrote.
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They said his prior offenses also were extremely violent including an attack on a couple eating dinner, the rape of a college student and rape of his former girlfriend.
"Hamilton fails to demonstrate a reasonable probability of a different result had counsel performed differently," the opinion concludes.