On July 22nd, 1993, William Hamilton died after a struggle with Michael Cope. Hamilton owned a jewelery shop, had money, and was a mentor in an after school program. But also, he was molesting boys including Michael. Hamilton would give boys marijuana or cocaine. Hamilton would also have Michael and others hide jewelry, claim he was robbed, get insurance money, and then the boys would take him the jewelry back and he would sell it.
Michael had become addicted to drugs, and went to the jewelry shop to see if he could get some. When he went to leave, Hamilton jumped on his back and tried to choke him. Michael saw a knife, grabbed it and stabbed Hamilton. While they were struggling, they fell onto glass case and both got cut. A piece of glass went into a main artery eventually causing Hamilton’s death, from blood loss, after Hamilton chased Michael out of the door.
Michael had a court appointed lawyer that did not defend him. Michael told him every single detail of that day and the time leading up to that day and his lawyer withheld that information. He told Michael to plead guilty and take a deal. He was only 20. He was young and scared and thought his lawyer knew what to do. Michael was sentenced to 20 years to life.
Michael is now aged 44 and has served 24 years in prison for a defending himself from a pedophile. A petition calling for his release has more than a thousand signatures.