Court upholds murder conviction

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2002

FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Court of Appeals has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Adam Hamilton in the 1999 stabbing death of a his best friend.

In a decision released Friday, the three-judge court rejected Hamilton's appeal of his convictions for first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.

Hamilton, now 28, was convicted in July 2000 of stabbing 26-year-old David Dixon 28 times as Dixon and his family slept in their home in the early morning of Nov. 24, 1999. Hamilton is serving a 99-year prison sentence.

His appeal argued that the traffic stop that resulted in officers collecting most of the evidence against him was illegal. It said a mistrial should have been declared because of comments by a Fairbanks police officer during trial. And it maintained the judge should have instructed the jury to consider Hamilton's argument that the crime was in the heat of passion and an act of self-defense.

The stop was legal, the court decided, saying that officers could stop a vehicle in which they suspected there was a potential witness, and Hamilton's license plate was covered with snow, which would be a valid reason for a stop.

Fairbanks police officer Pearl Turney testified that Hamilton seemed concerned about his own injuries but did not express concern for anyone else. Bill Satterberg, Hamilton's lawyer, argued that was cause for a mistrial. The appeals court disagreed.

Hamilton's appeal also argued that the trial judge should have instructed the jury to consider Satterberg's claims of self-defense and heat of passion. The appeals court rejected that argument, ruling those claims were based on speculation.

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