Smyrna man pleads guilty to 2nd-degree murder in wife’s 2015 disappearance

Cortez A. Hamilton

DOVER — A 35-year-old Smyrna man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after the disappearance of his wife three years ago.

Cortez A. Hamilton is facing 15 years to life in prison when sentenced by Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. in Superior Court on March 28. The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation into Hamilton’s background following the plea last Friday in Superior Court.

Hamilton was initially charged with first-degree murder after a possible incident around Jan. 9 or 10, 2015 in his Smyrna home at 113 East Cayhill Lane in the Twin Willows neighborhood. His 35-year-old wife Keisha S. Hamilton has been missing since then and her family presumes she is dead.

Hamilton was located in Indiana with his unharmed two children age four years and four months old the day after an Amber Alert was issued. He was extradited to Delaware on Jan. 22, 2015 and indicted on April 6, 2015.

A vehicle search by Indiana State Police via a warrant allegedly brought the seizure of a bloody hammer, bloody clothing belonging to Mrs. Hamilton, along with clothing and shoes from Mr. Hamilton partially covered in mud and stained blood, according to a court opinion allowing the items to be entered as evidence.

Mrs. Hamilton’s wedding ring, a lock of her hair, her purse and a cell phone were also found, according to police investigation.

Other indicted charges not further prosecuted included possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

A court docket indicated Hamilton is being held at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. He was initially held in default of $402,000 bail.
Deputy Attorney General Stephen R. Welch prosecuted the case for the state, and attorney John R. Garey represented Hamilton.

Four previous court dates were postponed Two trial delays came in 2016 — March 14 and Oct. 3; and two in 2017 — March 13 and Sept. 11.

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