A judge has refused to lower the bond of a man accused of killing a 16-year-old Williston High School student in a car crash earlier this month.
At a bond hearing Thursday, April 23, Northwest District Judge Josh Rustad ordered Samuel Hamilton, 27, continue to be held on $1 million on a class A felony charge of criminal vehicular homicide. Police and prosecutors say Hamilton was driving drunk on April 6 when he crashed into a 2015 Jeep Wrangler that 16-year-old Alexis Meduna was riding in at the intersection of ND Highway 1804 and County Road 21.
Meduna and the 16-year-old driver of the Jeep were both flown to Trinity Hospital in Minot, where she died.
At Thursday’s hearing, nearly 30 friends and family members of Meduna sat in the audience.
James Wiese, Hamilton’s defense attorney, asked Rustad to reduce Hamilton’s bond to $100,000. He said Hamilton had only recently moved to the area, but that his parents live in Billings and one of his brothers lives in the area.
Wiese said it was a serious charge, but that $1 million was a very high bond.
“While this is a very serious matter, the $1 million bond amount could appear to be excessive,” he said.
Nathan Madden, assistant state’s attorney for Williams County, said Hamilton was a danger to the community. He told Rustad that Hamilton had an extensive criminal history dating back to when he turned 18.
“This man has been a rolling criminal problem,” Madden said.
He also said Hamilton fought with law enforcement when they arrested him, and that he was aggressive with medical staff when he was taken to the hospital.
Madden said the bond was appropriate because Hamilton had a history of failing to appear for court and had no ties to the community.
“This guy is a real danger to the community,” Madden said. “For his entire adult life, he’s known nothing but crime.”
Rustad said he thought the bond was appropriate, given the circumstances, but said Hamilton could request another bond review in front of Northwest District Judge Kirsten Sjue, who has been assigned to hear the trial.
Hamilton is due back in court May 15 for a preliminary hearing.