By Kevin Hogencamp
Marlina Von Hamilton may spend the rest of her life in prison, but not until she spends a few weeks getting her affairs in order.
Convicted last week of murder in the October 2010 death of ex-husband Christopher Donaldson, who was shot in the groin and chest, Von Hamilton was immediately freed on the $35,000 bond that she posted after being arrested last fall. She is not wearing a home monitoring device and isn’t otherwise subjected to special conditions, except to not contact the victim’s family, court records show.
The post-murder conviction bond release following a murder conviction may be a first for Dougherty County; District Attorney Greg Edwards and Superior Court Clerk Yvonne Mull said they do not recall it having ever occurred in Albany.
Here’s how it happened. After the jury’s murder verdict was read in the courtroom, Edwards requested that Von Hamilton be immediately sentenced by Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette. Defense attorney Johnnie Edwards than asked Lockette to delay the sentencing to give Von Edwards an opportunity to get her family affairs in order, and Lockette established a sentencing date of April 15.
Von Hamilton’s children are 2, 9 and 15 years old, Edwards said.
“The state acquiesced to the extent that I did not know how long he was going to give her,” Edwards said, adding that he thought that sentencing likely would occur early the next week. “It was kind of spur-of-the-moment. I figured he was talking about allowing her to get her affairs in order over the weekend. Actually, the defense did not ask for a specific amount of time. During the trial, my impression was that the children were already being attended to by relatives.”
The Albany Journal attempted to contact Lockette by telephone and e-mail on Tuesday, to no avail.
Von Hamilton, 33, of the 2500 block of Habersham Road, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison plus 25 years after being found guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault-family violence, aggravated assault, and possessing a firearm while committing a felony. She was found not guilty of malice murder.
Von Hamilton killed Donaldson, 32, with a 9mm handgun she borrowed three days before the shooting. She claimed self-defense and said Donaldson raped and beat her.