January 19, 2013
WILKES-BARRE – Two half-brothers charged in the killings of three people in Plymouth will stand trial in September, Luzerne County Judge Michael Vough said Friday.
Vough scheduled the trial of Shawn Hamilton, 19, and Sawud Davis, 16, to begin Sept. 9.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Hamilton if he is convicted of first-degree murder.
State police at Wyoming and county detectives believe Hamilton and Davis, both of East Ridge Street, Nanticoke, and formerly of Philadelphia, were inside an apartment on First Street, Plymouth, on July 7 to make an alleged drug exchange of heroin and marijuana.
According to the criminal complaint, Davis pulled out a .40-caliber pistol and fired multiple rounds, killing Bradley Swartwood, 21, Nicholas Maldonado, 17, of Plymouth, and Lisa Abaunza, 15, of Duryea, and injuring 19-year-old Daniel Maldonado.
Hamilton told reporters after a preliminary hearing in October that he was the lone gunman, not his half-brother.
After the shooting, Hamilton and Davis visited their cousin, Kenyatta Hughston, 22, who at the time was hospitalized at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for gunshot injuries he suffered on Jay Street, Wilkes-Barre, on July 6.
Hughston sustained gunshot injuries to his head and neck. He died Oct. 6.
Hamilton was charged by city police with Hughston's homicide on Dec. 13. The case was assigned to Judge Tina Polachek Gartley.
A trial date in connection to Hughston's death has not been scheduled.
City police on Friday filed for a search warrant seeking cellphone and text message records from Raymond Drexler, of Wilkes-Barre.
Drexler claimed he met Hamilton on July 4 through a mutual friend. He said he helped Hamilton move belongings into the Nanticoke apartment and drove him to pick up a misplaced cellphone on July 5. Drexler said he helped Hamilton because he was getting free heroin in exchange.
On July 6, while driving Hamilton to used car lots, Drexler said Hamilton told him he needed to meet a friend. Drexler said he was told to park on Scott Street, where he waited for Hamilton to return. When Hamilton rushed back to the car, Drexler said, he yelled out, Let's get out of here.
Police believe Hamilton left Drexler's car and shot Hughston on Jay Street. Drexler allegedly told police he saw a firearm tucked in Hamilton's waistband.
Edward Lewis, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7196.