Laramie Man Acquitted In Stabbing Death
The murder trial of Laramie man, Tim Harnden, concluded late Wednesday evening. Jurors found Harnden 'Not Guilty' of second degree murder. While at his home, on May 19, 66-year-old Tim Harnden stabbed and killed 44-year-old Paul Hamilton.
Tim Harnden was called to the witness stand Wednesday morning to give his testimony. Harnden stood slowly and proceeded ,tentatively, to the witness stand. He stated that he did not have a perfect memory of the events which occurred on May 19th. While in custody, Harnden told officers: " I didn't want to hurt anybody. I'm scared -- my first time in jail." On the witness stand, Harnden, at times, struggled to understand questions posed to him. Vaughn Neubauer, Harnden's attorney, asked him, "Are you scared, Tim?" Barely audible, Harnden responded: "Yes."
Harnden was asked questions about Paul Hamilton, Carol Hamilton's spouse. He stated that he neither liked Paul Hamilton nor his abusive behavior toward Carol, which escalated when Paul drank. Harnden admitted that he wanted more than friendship with Mrs. Hamilton; however, Carol Hamilton had intimated to Tim that he was too old for her and that she wanted to heal her marriage. Harnden still remained close to Mrs. Hamilton, particularly when she had financial struggles. Tim Harnden continued to provide support for Mrs Hamilton; he gave her a 2003 Ford Mustang and even bail money for Paul, who, at one time, had been arrested for domestic violence against her.
Harnden stated that he allowed Carol to stay at his house when she wanted to get away from her husband. Tim Harnden even allowed Paul Hamilton to stay in his camper which was located in the back of his home. When asked by defense attorney Neubauer why he would give housing to a man he did not like, Harnden replied, "Because Carol asked me as a favor". After some time with these arrangements, Harnden sent a text message to Mrs. Hamilton accusing her of using him for his money .Harnden also a sent text message to Paul Hamilton demanding that he vacate his trailer, immediately. Upon receiving the message, Carol Hamilton stormed downstairs and began shouting at Harnden. As she tried to leave, Harnden momentarily blocked her path, but then allowed her to pass. She exited through the back entrance where her husband was located.
Harnden was inspecting a knife when he entered the hallway of his home. He discovered that Carol Hamilton had re-entered his home with Paul, who at the time, had a blood alcohol content of 0.18. She proceeded upstairs to her room. Paul Hamilton lunged toward Tim Harnden and an altercation ensued. "I was afraid he was going to hurt me real bad," stated Tim. It was at that point that he stabbed and killed Hamilton. "If I had to do it again, I would do it again. I felt my life was in danger," Harnden said. Just three weeks prior to the fatal stabbing, Hamilton and Tim Harnden had an altercation in which Harnden claimed that Hamilton pressed his knee to his throat to the point that he almost lost consciousness.
The court went to recess after Harnden's testimony. Closing statements were given by both attorneys when the court reconvened. The jurors were then dismissed for deliberation. Several hours later, jurors came to a decision -- Not Guilty. The prosecution calmly accepted the verdict. Defense attorney, Vaughn Neubauer, jubilantly hugged Harnden. Tim Harnden, however, remained motionless with his head down as his eyes filled with tears. The courtroom dispersed; Harnden declined interviews with the media. Defense attorney, Vaughn Neubauer had this to say about the verdict:
Tim Harnden, visibly exhausted, but a free man, exited the courtroom with two police escorts.