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Domestic Violence Murder Conviction by Jury
Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office
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<b>James Hamilton
James Hamilton

RICHMOND, TX – A jury convicted James Curtis Hamilton of Murder on February 22, 2023 before sentencing him to 69 ½ years in prison and assessing the maximum fine of $10,000.  The 31 year-old Houston man was tried for shooting his ex-wife’s husband to death in 2020.

According to prosecutors Lauren Valenti and Sunni Mitchell, Hamilton killed Derwyn Lauderdale at a little league football tournament on October 10, 2020.  Mr. Lauderdale was a beloved football coach at Fort Bend ISD’s Travis High School and was married to the mother of Hamilton’s children. Two days before the murder, the defendant made a threat via text message to kill Mr. Lauderdale.  On the day of the offense, Hamilton arrived at the Seabourne Creek Sports Complex in Rosenberg shortly after Lauderdale arrived with his wife and the defendant’s two young children, ages six and eight. When Mr. Lauderdale approached Hamilton’s vehicle to ask about the text message, the defendant shot him and attempted to flee.  Fortunately, Hamilton was stopped by two bystanders who were present for the tournament.

At trial, the defense asserted self-defense claiming that Lauderdale had a gun and Hamilton was forced to shoot, but prosecutors successfully argued to the jury that the defendant was not justified in using deadly force against his victim. During the punishment phase of trial, the State introduced evidence to show that Hamilton had abused the mother of his children for years and had been convicted of Assault – Family Violence. Additionally, the defendant had a conviction for the Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.

District Attorney Brian Middleton indicated, “Mr. Lauderdale’s death was a tragic loss for his family, the youth that witnessed the event, and our community as a whole. The jury’s sentence was appropriate and proportionate to the crime committed. Law enforcement, the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, and the jury ensured that just was served.”

Murder in this case is a first-degree felony, punishable by 5-99 years, or life, in prison and a fine up to $10,000.  Domestic Violence Division Deputy Chief Prosecutor Lauren Valenti and Chief Prosecutor Sunni Mitchell prosecuted the case. 

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