Thursday, August 10, 2000

Argument ends in fatal shooting

Police seek suspect on murder charge

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Two Hamilton men who served prison time for violent offenses clashed early Wednesday, police said, and one of them ended up dead.

        Christopher Darnell Johnson, 25, was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital Hamilton after a midnight argument at a trailer park in the 1900 block of Dixie Highway. He died of a gunshot wound to the heart, the Butler County Coroner's office said.

        Investigators allege Lavell Hamilton, 49, argued with Mr. Johnson and then shot him. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest on a murder charge; as of Wednesday afternoon, they were still looking for him. Police would not disclose details Wednesday.

        Mr. Johnson's death is the city's sixth homicide this year. The city averages about seven slayings per year.

        Ohio Department of Rehabili tation and Correction records show both men had served multiple prison terms. Hamilton police records show both were arrested after their latest release from prison.

        Mr. Johnson was freed in November after serving 11/2 years for possession of drugs and aggravated assault. A month later, Hamilton police arrested him for alleged possession of cocaine.

        In 1994, he served 11/2 years in prison on a weapons charge.

        Mr. Hamilton was released in February 1997 after serving a year for theft and aggravated assault.

        Hamilton police records show four arrests on drug-related charges since then.

        Mr. Hamilton served three earlier prison terms dating to 1975 for theft, aggravated robbery and weapons charges.


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