On the one-year anniversary of his brother’s death, Jamal Davis remained hopeful the murderers would one day be apprehended.
It was January 2014, and Demitri Hampton’s family had just visited a bench dedicated in his memory. They spoke highly of the investigators working the case that day.
“They’re still doing some good work, and we keep praying that we’ll get some justice served,” Mr. Davis said.
On Tuesday night, his family’s prayers were answered.
Homicide detectives called Mr. Hampton’s mother, Juanita Trent, about 9 p.m. to tell her arrests had been made in the case.
“You pray so long for this to happen, but when the time comes you’re not sure you want to face it,” Ms. Trent said Wednesday morning. “I just want closure.”
Three people are facing murder charges in connection with the killing. Michael Parrish, 26, of Coram; Danielle Hall, 39, of Calverton and Corry Wallace, 40, of Riverhead have all been charged with second-degree murder.
Mr. Hampton was fatally shot in an early-morning home invasion in Flanders on Jan. 27, 2013. The 21-year-old was staying with his girlfriend at a cousin’s house when two masked men stormed into the home about 3 a.m.
Mr. Hampton was up late playing video games in the basement, and rushed upstairs to confront the armed men. He tried to fight them off in the kitchen but was shot in the chest during the struggle. He later died of his injuries at a local hospital.
All three suspects pleaded not guilty and were ordered held without bail by Judge Edward Burke during their arraignments in Southampton Town Justice Court Wednesday morning. A grand jury is expected to hear the case Friday.
The investigation is still pending and two other arrests are expected, according to assistant district attorney Glenn Kurtzrock.
Mr. Davis called it a “bittersweet day” and Mr. Hampton’s father Theodore “Teddy” Trent thanked police for their work.
“I started to lose faith,” Mr. Trent said. “But [the homicide detective] did it. He’s a man of his word.”
More than a dozen supporters joined the Hampton family in court Wednesday morning.
The judge initially suggested a bail of $250,000, but Mr. Kurtzrock said town justices have no authority to set bail on a murder charge.
Mr. Kurtzrock argued that Ms. Hall has a significant criminal history, has failed to show up for court in the past and therefore should not be afforded bail anyway. Her attorney, Dan Russo, countered that she’s a lifelong Suffolk County resident, is pregnant with her fourth child and has never been convicted of a felony.
“I think the evidence will show at some point that Ms. Hall is not the person who committed this crime,” Mr. Russo told the judge.
Mr. Wallace has two prior felony convictions according to Mr. Kurtzrock. As Mr. Wallace was being led out of court an unidentified woman sitting in the front row yelled “don’t [expletive] call me, I hate you.” The woman then apologized to Mr.
Hampton’s family before leaving the courtroom.
The attorneys for Mr. Wallace and Mr. Parrish did not request bail for their clients.
Mr. Hampton’s death stunned the area’s close-knit community, which later rallied around his grieving family. He had played on the Blue Waves basketball team and was a member of the school’s anti-gang club. Mr. Hampton was also a volunteer who helped mentor young men in the community while studying at Suffolk County Community College. Family members have since established a scholarship in his memory and have handed out awards to Riverhead High School students planning to attend SCCC.
Nearly 100 people packed an auditorium at the college’s eastern campus in February 2013 for a memorial service. His mother thanked the crowd for their support and urged them not to turn their back on their faith in the wake of tragedy and to not retaliate with violence.
“I want you all to know that I didn’t cry my last tear, but I’m at peace, because I know the God I serve, he’s going to carry us through,” she told the crowd. “I’m not about the vengeance. God has given me strength.”
Photo Caption: Michael Parrish, Danielle Hall and Corry Wallace. (Credit: Suffolk County Police)