A wrongful death suit filed Wednesday in Miller County accuses the owner and operators of a Texarkana, Ark., gas station of negligence in the 2015 parking lot shooting death of a 22-year-old husband and father.
Marvin Stanton, 50, was sentenced last year to life plus 15 years in the Sept. 25, 2015, death of Jesse Hamilton resulting from a shooting at the Raceway gas station in the 4100 block of State Line Avenue over a parking spot. Hamilton was fatally shot following a brief fight witnesses testified was started by Stanton, a much larger man, after Hamilton got the upper hand in a brief physical confrontation.
Wednesday lawyers from Texarkana and Little Rock announced the filing of a civil suit alleging negligence. The complaint accuses the defendants of failing to protect Hamilton and other patrons despite knowing for years that the parking lot is a hot spot for criminal activity.
“The lawsuit claims in the 29 months preceding Hamilton’s murder, the City of Texarkana, Ark., Police Dept., received, reported, and/or responded to: 369 known requests for police service and crimes on the premises, included but not limited to: one previous murder on the parking lot; 177 requests for police assistance for loitering on parking lot; 22 assault and battery crimes; six aggravated assault crimes; 52 disturbance calls; 80 suspicious person calls,” according to a press release issued Wednesday by the lawyers who filed the case.
Hamilton’s mother, Rebecca Jeanes, as representative of the family and Hamilton’s estate, is named as plaintiff in the suit filed by Texarkana lawyers Jack Boyd and Jonathan Prazak and Little Rock lawyers Hal Cook and Cook Law Firm associate Whitney Cossio.
At a press conference at the Texarkana office of Boyd Prazak on Wednesday afternoon, Cossio read a statement from the family which describes Raceway as a “dangerous business” which has done “harm to our community.”
The lawyers spoke of a January 2015 hearing, less than a year before Hamilton’s murder, before the Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control board at which Raceway owner Muhammad Nadeem claimed to have employed armed security guards to protect the premises from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends. The complaint alleges that no security was present when Hamilton was murdered by Stanton at about 10:15 p.m. on a Friday night.
Last year a Miller County jury found Stanton guilty of murder and of carrying a firearm in the furtherance of a felony. Witnesses testified that Stanton, who was wearing his Juggernaut motorcycle vest, pulled into the station on his bike and told Hamilton, who was preparing to leave, to get out of his parking space. Witnesses told the jury that Hamilton tried to reason with Stanton but that Stanton, with a gun holstered at his hip, shoved Hamilton into the side of his pickup.
Stanton was obviously surprised when Hamilton, who weighed nearly 200 pounds less and stood far shorter, came up swinging. Hamilton was able to deliver a few punches to Stanton’s face before a girlfriend of Stanton’s intervened. As Hamilton began to back away, Stanton drew his pistol and fired a .45 caliber round into Hamilton’s gut. The young father died hours later on an operating table.
The civil suit seeks damages for Hamilton’s medical and final expenses and compensation for his mental anguish, pain and suffering. The complaint asks for compensation for Hamilton’s family’s past and future mental anguish, their financial loss, loss of life, loss of parental guidance and loss of future contributions, earning and life expectancy. The suit also asks for exemplary damages, citing an, “intentional disregard of the known risk and danger to visitors, guests and patrons.”
Hamilton left behind his mother and extended family as well as a wife and daughter, who Cook said is now a 3-year-old. The civil case has been assigned to the same judge who presided over Stanton’s criminal trial, Miller County Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson.