KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The trigger-man in the 2011 death of Thomas Hinton, 21-year-old Kion Dail, was found guilty of first-degree murder by malice by a Lenoir County jury.
He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The reason the judge allowed for parole was due to Dail’s age at the time of the murder.
Dail was found not guilty of robbery.
Here is a timeline of how we got to this point:
On Wednesday, Raekwon Bryant, the person who police think handed Dail the murder weapon, refused to testify in court.
Thursday, Lamont Byrd, the man convicted of killing a US Marshal, refused to testify. Dail did the same Friday.
After Dail told the judge he wouldn’t testify, attorneys went into their closing statements. The state was first to do so.
Assistant District Attorney John Newby junior put this quote on the screen, “We kill people for fun.”
That’s what one witness told the jury Dail said in the days following Thomas Hinton’s murder.
The defense shared a phrase of its own. Dail’s attorney asked the jury if the evidence they heard was fully satisfying and entirely convincing.
While closing arguments were held, the family was full of emotion. A group of them sat at the front of the courthouse
Original Story on 6/2/16:
A high-profile case may be decided at the Lenoir County Courthouse this week. In June of 2011, a number of people were charged for being connected to the murder of Thomas Hinton.
Prosecutors say Kion Dail, 21, is the trigger-man in the 2011 death of Thomas Hinton. Hinton was killed on West Lenoir Avenue in Kinston on his way home from work.
Dail’s case continued at the Lenoir County Courthouse on Thursday.
A couple of days after Hinton’s death, two murder warrants were issued, one for Lamont Byrd, and the other for Dail. When officers went to 602-A West Lenoir Avenue to serve those warrants, it turned deadly.
Byrd was convicted of killing Deputy U.S. Marshal Warren Lewis. He was also convicted of having a role in Hinton’s death.
Less than a month later, Dail’s mother was arrested for accessory after the fact for her role in Hinton’s murder.
Now, the court continues to try to bring justice to the Hinton family. This week Dail’s case is at the Lenoir County Courthouse.
Testimony began Wednesday and the state continued to present its case Thursday, calling multiple witnesses to the stand.
The state questioned a number of people during Thursday’s proceedings. Some cooperated and others didn’t.
Lamont Byrd, the person convicted of killing Marshal Lewis was brought in to take the stand. He walked into the courtroom emotionless. The judge tried to swear him in and that’s when Byrd refused to testify.
Judge Paul Jones then told Byrd it was part of his plea deal to testify and Byrd didn’t even respond. Byrd was then escorted out of the courtroom.
Other people, including officers, family friends, an expert, and detective took the stand as well. During those testimonies autopsy photos and evidence were presented.
9 On Your Side talked to family members from both sides. The Dail family said they want justice to be served, the Hinton family said the same.
Hinton’s mom said she couldn’t show up to court on the anniversary of her son’s death. She said June 2 is hard every year and it doesn’t get any better.
Court resumes Friday at 9:30 am.