Salisbury man accepts plea in 2015 murder, sentenced to over seven years in prison

Published 12:10 am Thursday, January 5, 2017

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man will spend just over seven years in prison for the January 2015 shooting death of Oscar Miguel Aguilera, a father of two who worked at DJs Restaurant. Jayquan Keyon Hamilton, now 21, accepted an Alford plea of second-degree murder and was sentenced during a brief hearing Wednesday morning in Rowan County Superior Court.

Judge Anna Mills Wagoner sentenced Hamilton to 94 to 125 months, or just over seven years, to nearly 10 and a half years. He will receive credit for the nearly two years he has spent in the county jail. The Alford plea essentially means that he did not admit guilt but that the prosecution could likely prove a charge.

Aguilera, 24, and his common-law wife, Kenia Corrales, both worked at the restaurant. On Jan. 18, she left about 11 p.m., and he stayed behind to hang out with friends, according to statements read in court. He was dropped off at a nearby shopping center and walked home to the Lakewood Apartment complex. Salisbury Police said very little about the shooting in 2015 and never provided a motive.

According to a witness whose statement was read in court, the witness and Hamilton were outside smoking when Hamilton spotted Aguilera, who had cut through a path. The witness said he heard gunshots, and Hamilton came back and told the witness, “Bro, I shot him. He was coming towards me.” The witness said Hamilton then left.

The witness did not tell police what he knew until about three months after the shooting. The witness said he knew Hamilton had a gun and believed he intended to rob the victim, although Hamilton did not indicate to the witness he planned to rob the victim.

District Attorney Greg Butler said there were several people in the complex who said they heard five or six gunshots, but no one reported seeing anything. The witness said he told others that “Jay shot somebody,” but no one came forward.

Oscar Aguilera’s body was not found until the next morning, lying between two apartment buildings. Statements read in court by Butler said Aguilera was shot twice, in the hand and in the forehead between the eyes.

Butler said there was not a lot of physical evidence except for the witness who came forward.  Hamilton’s cellphone pinged from a cell tower in the area. The prosecution did not address the weapon used to shoot Aguilera but said the witness told police that Hamilton had one.

Hamilton has maintained his innocence, saying he was not at the scene there and that he didn’t commit the crime, court statements said.

Butler said according to his statement, Hamilton told investigators he was staying at a relative’s home to attend the funeral of Kymello McLane, an 8-year-old who fell through ice and drowned at Hurley Park.

Butler said that based on the evidence, Hamilton’s plea was the best outcome.

Corrales, who did not speak English, wrote a statement that an interpreter read in court. She said she’s been wondering the same question: “Why?”

“Why did you kill him? He didn’t have any problems with anyone,” Corrales said.

She said Aguilera worked to support his children, the youngest of whom says she misses her father.

The young girl has special needs, Corrales wrote. She said they came to this country to work.

“We don’t hate you. I hope when you leave prison, you become a better man,” she said.

Other family members were in court sitting with Corrales. They declined to comment after the hearing.

Hamilton’s attorney, Mike Adkins, said his client had never been in trouble before and had a family support system and a job. Several members of his family were in court.

When asked if he had anything to say, Hamilton said, “I’m sorry for their loss, but I promise you it wasn’t me.”

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.