NANTICOKE – Shawn Hamilton said Friday that he – not his younger half brother – was the lone gunman who killed three people and critically injuring a fourth person in Plymouth.
In July, Hamilton had told police his half brother, Sawud Davis, 16, was the triggerman.
Hamilton, 18, made the revelation to reporters after a nearly three-hour preliminary hearing Friday before District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke.
My brother is innocent; it was self-defense, Hamilton professed. I never said it was my brother. My brother didn't do anything. I love my brother, man. He didn't do nothing. He's innocent. I'm not taking the fall for nobody, man.
State police at Wyoming and county detectives allege Hamilton and Davis went to an apartment on First Street, Plymouth, on July 7 to buy marijuana and sell heroin to Daniel Maldonado, 20, Nicholas Maldonado, 17, Bradley Swartwood, 21, and Lisa Abaunza, 15.
County Detective Lt. Gary Sworen testified during the hearing that Hamilton, in two interviews, allegedly stated Davis was the gunman. Sworen said that during a third interview is when Hamilton allegedly admitted to shooting the four people in the apartment.
Only Daniel Maldonado survived the rampage. He suffered permanent injuries to his arm.
Acting Coroner William Lisman testified Nicholas Maldonado, Swartwood and Abaunza died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Sworen said bloody clothing allegedly belonging to Hamilton was recovered from a garbage can inside the Wyoming Valley Mall, where Hamilton purchased new clothes at a department store after the shooting. Bloody sneakers were also found, along with a .40-caliber gun, from Hamilton's apartment on East Ridge Street, Nanticoke, Sworen said.
Davis' attorney, Demetrius Fannick, in an attempt to have a first-degree homicide charge dismissed, said the bloody clothing and sneakers all belonged to Hamilton. Fannick said the gun was found in a drawer next to Hamilton's bed.
Hamilton's attorneys, Allyson Kacmarski and Robert Buttner, said their client in two interviews with investigators said Davis was the shooter and responsible for the homicides.
Whittaker determined assistant district attorneys William Finnegan Jr. and Rebecca Reimiller established a case against the brothers, sending four open counts of criminal homicide and robbery and a single count of criminal attempt to commit homicide to county court. They remain jailed without bail.
Daniel Maldonado testified he was in his bedroom when Hamilton and Davis arrived at the apartment at about 9:20 p.m. He looked out of his door and saw marijuana on a coffee table and Hamilton telling him, You're going to want to come out here.
Daniel Maldonado said Hamilton pulled out a gun and ordered him, his brother, Nicholas, Swartwood and Abaunza to empty their pockets.
I ran and lunged at him, Daniel Maldonado said, saying he was thrown to the floor and shot in the head, chest and arm.
In response to questions posed by Kacmarski, Daniel Maldonado said he did not tell investigators he smoked marijuana before the shooting.
Maldonado's mother, Susana Handelong, wore a shirt with a picture of Nicholas to the hearing. After the proceeding, Handelong and the mother of Hamilton and Davis, who only identified herself as Shawna, confronted one another outside.
Shawna wanted to express her condolences to the Maldonado family while Handelong kept asking why her son, Nicholas, had to be killed.