A Forest Park man, whose criminal history dates back to high school, is on trial this week in Clayton County Superior Court in a 2008 shooting death.
Antonio Montrez Hamm, 25, is charged with murder and other felonies in the Dec. 14, 2008 death of J. Remedios Mendieta-Ruiz at a Forest Park apartment complex. His brother, Raymond Deangelo Hamm, 23, is being prosecuted in the same courtroom for allegedly threatening a witness, Brittany Lashunda O'Kelly.
Thursday's testimony surrounded O'Kelly, who is Antonio Hamm's former girlfriend. Police said O'Kelly witnessed the shooting, but was shot in the head two months later, after she and the brothers moved to West Point, Ga. She suffered brain damage and is childlike, according to police. Antonio Hamm was charged in her shooting, but the status of the case was unclear.
Clayton County Police Detective Tom Martin took the stand Thursday and testified that O'Kelly was not complicit in the shooting. "There are no warrants for Brittany O'Kelly, because there is no evidence she committed a crime related to this," said Martin. "There is no evidence on Brittany O'Kelly."
She allegedly told police that Antonio Hamm wanted her to get money from somewhere so he could buy marijuana. Witnesses told police they saw Mendieta-Ruiz drive into the gated complex about 3:30 p.m., Dec. 14, 2008, accompanied by a female. The victim followed the female into a breezeway and witnesses heard a gunshot.
Other witnesses told police they saw a suspicious male hanging around the apartment building before the shooting. Another witness told police of overhearing Antonio Hamm tell O'Kelly to "Get the Mexican and meet me in the cut," according to court documents.
Defense attorneys Bernadette Clark Wright and Derek M. Wright said O'Kelly used the lure of prostitution to get Mendieta-Ruiz to the complex to be robbed.
Martin disagreed. "She's shot in the head by this guy, she was dragged away from there by a guy holding a rifle," said Martin. "I am not sure that was her intention."
The defense attorneys also presented witnesses to dispute O'Kelly's contention that Antonio and Raymond Hamm held her against her will. West Point Police Sgt. Kevin Bower and Officer Whitley Jones testified they didn't see any signs that O'Kelly was a hostage of the brothers.
A music producer friend of the brothers, Shannon Williams, also took the stand and said O'Kelly appeared to be with the two of her own free will. "If someone was being held hostage in my studio, I think I would notice that," said Williams.
Clayton County court records show that Antonio Hamm's local criminal history dates back to 2003, when he was about 17. Charges include fighting at school and bringing weapons to school.