The man accused of killing Atlanta-based rapper Slim Dunkin will spend the next 25 years of his life in prison, the AJC reports, but he was not convicted of murder.
While a Fulton County jury did not convict Vinson Hardimon a.k.a. Young Vito of murder and felony murder, he was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a handgun during the commission of a felony during the December 2011 altercation that left Slim Dunkin–real name Mario Hamilton–dead.
Hamilton’s father, Mark Hamilton, was not pleased with the murder and felony murder acquittals, but he is happy that the trial is over. “I’m disappointed with that verdict,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know what (the jury) saw. In the end, he got 25 years and we can have some closure.”
Prosecutors accuse Hardimon of shooting Hamilton during an altercation at Hardimon’s east Atlanta studio on Dec. 21, 2011. After the two were separated, Hamilton allegedly rushed Hardimon. That was when Hardimon shot the rapper dead.
Here is more from the AJC:
Still, following the verdict, Hardimon’s attorney pointed out that the jury’s decision didn’t add up.
“There is an inconsistent verdict for Count 3 and the underlying felony of Count 2,” attorney Max Hirsch said. “The underlying felony for Count 2 is of aggravated assault. They found him not guilty of Count 2.”
In the first two counts of the indictment, the jury was asked to find Hardimon guilty of either murder and felony murder or two counts of voluntary manslaughter, or not guilty of each count.
In this case, the aggravated assault was the underlying felony for the felony murder charge – in other words, the felony that caused Hamilton’s death.
Typically, juries find guilt for the felony murder and the underlying felony go hand-in-hand.
But Fulton assistant district attorney Linda Dunikoski pointed out an exception Schwall made in this case.
“The jury asked about this, and the Court’s response, as agreed to by defense counsel was that each charge was to be considered individually,” Dunikoski said.
Hardimon’s mother, Anna Gail Hardimon, said her son’s dream was to open a music studio to give people in the east Atlanta community a chance to better themselves.
“My son has been made out to be a horrible person,” she said. “His dream was taken from him, along with his time with his children.”
However, Hardimon has a criminal history that the judge and the prosecutors said they could not ignore, referring to an April 27, 2011 aggravated assault charge. Hardimon took an “Alford” guilty plea in connection to the charge– not admitting actual guilt, but rather that a prosecutor might find enough evidence to convince a jury to convict – on accusations that he held a gun on his ex-girlfriend and her 16-year-old daughter. Hardimon was arrested and released on $36,000. He made the plea while in jail on Hamilton’s shooting.
Judge Schwall said that, because the gun Hamilton is accused of using to kill Hamilton was connected in to another crime, the defendant has established a pattern of violence that could not be overlooked.
“There are two kinds of criminals,” Schwall said. “The ones we’re mad at and the ones we’re scared of. My job is to protect society from the ones we’re afraid of.”