A Gwinnett County man has been convicted of killing his 3-year-old adopted daughter, the district attorney’s office said.
Rodney Allen Hamilton, 52, was convicted of felony murder and aggravated battery on Feb. 2 after a weeklong trial. The jury returned a verdict after three hours of deliberation.
On Jan. 30, 2015, Rodney Hamilton called 911 and said his daughter Tamiah Hamilton would not wake up from her afternoon nap. Paramedics found the girl unresponsive, with “audibly distressed breathing” and “her tongue protruding from her mouth and her jaw clenched down on her tongue,” according to a release from the DA’s office. Tamiah Hamilton was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center and then airlifted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with a severe head injury.
Rodney Hamilton told hospital staff that he did not know why or how Tamiah Hamilton injured her head, and the hospital staff contacted police. Tamiah Hamilton died four days after arriving at the hospital.
Two medical examiners and several CHOA doctors testified at trial that Tamiah Hamilton sustained a “massive” head injury that would have caused her to lose consciousness immediately. The swelling in Tamiah Hamilton’s head was advanced by the time she arrived at the hospital, indicating Rodney Hamilton did not call 911 immediately after Tamiah Hamilton was injured, the DA’s office said. Phone records showed that Rodney Hamilton called his wife twice before calling 911, and he admitted doing so in court.
Rodney Hamilton’s defense argued that Tamiah Hamilton had an “old” head injury that was re-aggravated by falling down the stairs or suffering a similar accidental trauma.
Rodney Hamilton will be sentenced at a later date that has not been determined. A felony murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence, but a judge must decide whether Rodney Hamilton will have the possibility of parole.
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