Trial date set for Smyrna man accused of killing wife

Cortez A. Hamilton

DOVER — For the fifth time a trial has been scheduled for a 35-year-old Smyrna man accused in the disappearance of his wife three years ago.

Four previous dates were postponed. Cortez A. Hamilton is now set for a jury trial on Jan. 22 in Kent County Superior Court.

Two trial delays came in 2016 — March 14 and Oct. 3; and two in 2017 — March 13 and Sept. 11.

Mr. Hamilton is accused of killing Keisha S. Hamilton in early January 2015 and then supposedly fleeing to Indiana with his two children (ages four and two months) who were later found unharmed.

He pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.

Though Mrs. Hamilton has not been located since last being seen on Jan. 9, 2015, she is presumed dead by her family and police investigators who filed charges against her husband.

Mr. Hamilton was indicted on April 6, 2015, after extradition from Indiana.

Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. will oversee the case. Attorney John R. Garey is representing Mr. Hamilton, with Deputy Attorney General Stephen R. Welch prosecuting for the state. Mr. Hamilton is being held at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna.

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.

The warrant was valid based on information received from Delaware State Police by Ms. Hamilton’s sister, blood evidence at the Smyrna residence at 113 East Cayhill Lane in the Twin Willows neighborhood and her abandoned car supposedly found in a parking lot, according to the opinion.

When challenging the vehicle search, Mr. Hamilton unsuccessfully argued that an Amber Alert that helped locate him in Indiana was invalid because there was “no indication that Keisha’s children had been abducted or were in any danger,” according to a Superior Court ruling.

He claimed “that he was simply taking his children on a pre-planned trip to see his family,” and thus no alert should have been issued.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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