Trial postponed for Smyrna man charged with murdering wife

DOVER — A trial for a Smyrna man accused of murdering his wife and taking his children away in January 2015 was tentatively rescheduled for Sept. 11 on Wednesday morning.

Cortez A. Hamilton Sr.

Cortez A. Hamilton Sr. waived his right to a speedy trial in Kent County Superior Court after his defense attorney needed more preparation time due to a murder case he just handled in Maryland.

“For the last two months all I’ve been working on is getting ready for that case,” said lawyer John Garey, noting he also had a Supreme Court brief deadline in April that had been earlier extended.

Saying he hated “to put the court in this spot” Mr. Garey believed the serious nature of the charges warranted more time to plan a defense.

Resident Judge William L. Witham granted a continuance for the trial, which is scheduled for three weeks. Mr. Garey and Deputy Attorney General Steve Welch both acknowledged the unpredictability of a trial’s progress and time it may take.

Mr. Welch said he needed to contact out of state witnesses about the September date and would update the court on their availability.

Mr. Hamilton, 32 at the time, was found with his two children ages four and two months in Indiana three days after Delaware State Police began an Amber Alert search for them and their mother Keisha S. Hamilton, 35, on Jan. 10, 2015.

The children were turned safely over to Indiana’s Division of Family Services and their mother has not been located.

At the time the mother and her children went missing, Delaware State Police detectives believed “they may be in imminent danger” and were perhaps with Mr. Hamilton.

A detective’s probable cause affidavit said a hammer containing suspected blood was allegedly found in a trash bag, among other items, in a Chevrolet Suburban Mr. Hamilton and his two children were located in on Jan. 13, 2015.

Mr. Hamilton waived extradition and was returned to Delaware on Jan. 22, 2015. Charges include first-degree murder, first-degree assault, possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

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