He heard someone cry out, “No don’t. Don’t hurt my baby… you’re going to have to kill me, but don’t hurt my baby,” Simpson said in an interview with investigators after he and two others were arrested last November in connection with Hammond’s murder.
Simpson said that on Nov. 5, 2011 he, Brent Damon Carey and Deounta Demetrius Curtis went into Hammond’s home on Union Grove Church Road in Calhoun with the intent of robbing him.
When they left, Hammond lay dead, shot in the presence of a woman and small child.
None of the men confessed to being the shooter. Curtis never made a statement and Carey and Simpson each blamed someone else for pulling the trigger.
Simpson and Curtis were tried and convicted last week on three counts of felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, weapons violations, two counts of burglary and false imprisonment.
Curtis was also found guilty on one count of kidnapping.
Carey pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for testifying against his accomplices.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of armed robbery, two counts of burglary, three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of false imprisonment, one count of cruelty to children in the third degree, two-counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Carey was sentenced on Oct. 10 to 45-years in prison.
A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled for Simpson and Curtis.
In an interview with detectives from the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office shortly after the murder, Carey said that he was at Hammond’s house on the night he was murdered.
But, as he put it, “I wasn’t no trigger man.”
Carey’s version of what happened on the night of Nov. 5, 2011 recounts a bizarre sequence of events that led up to the murder, including a stop at Wal-Mart and an encounter with a police officer following the crime.
It is, perhaps, less peculiar than Simpson’s recollection.
According to court documents, Simpson told Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agents that he had gotten into a fight with someone he didn’t know prior to Hammond’s murder and had taken machete wounds to his hands and back.
Agents told Simpson during his initial interview that it seemed more than coincidental that a machete was also found at the murder scene.
The agents told Simpson that his injuries seemed consistent with defensive wounds.
The implication was that Hammond had attempted to fend off Simpson with a machete.
Simpson insisted the two incidents were unrelated.
Simpson told GBI agents that Carey knew Hammond and had planned the entire operation. He did not indicate that Carey told him of any plans to kill Hammond.
On the night of the murder, Simpson said he was the last one to enter Hammond’s house.
Once inside, Simpson said he saw someone on the couch whom he identified as the machete-wielding man he had fought with earlier.
The agents asked him if he thought that was a bit odd, but Simpson stuck to his story.
Simpson said that moments later he heard a tussle in a back room of the house followed by two gunshots.
Simpson said that Hammond — whom he consistently referred to as “Magic” — was his friend and at one point in his interview with police said, in effect, “I can’t believe Magic is dead.”
Carey’s recollection of the night was a bit more vivid and is documented in a 50-page transcript from his interview with Gordon County Sheriff’s Office detectives.
Carey told investigators that he had a personal issue with Hammond over drugs, but that he had never intended for him to die.
The men did acquire two guns before going to Hammond’s house, according to police documents, one of which was a .22-caliber rifle belonging to Carey.
The other was a .380-caliber handgun, acquired from someone else. Ballistics experts identified the .380 as the murder weapon.
Carey said the men struck out that night by first stopping at Wal-Mart to buy gloves and masks.
They made a few other stops before arriving at Hammond’s house shortly after midnight, he said in the interview with investigators.
Carey said he was designated as the get-away driver and the other men had already entered the house by the time he got out of the car.
Carey said he was all- alone in the darkness when he heard seven or eight gunshots echoing through the November night.
The men then robbed Hammond of drugs, roughly $160 and a “suitcase” filled with playing cards, according to court documents.
After leaving the house, Carey said the men made a stop at a gas station on Red Bud Road where they dumped the suitcase.
It was there that Carey said the men encountered a police officer. Carey said he spoke to the officer and gave her a “cup holder.”
The men split up later that evening before being arrested in the days that followed.
Curtis was arrested following a standoff with police in Chattanooga some time later.
Curtis and Simpson’s trial lasted seven days and jurors deliberated for nine hours over a two-day period before reaching their verdict.
Curtis and Simpson could receive life in prison for the murder and felony murder counts, along with additional time for the remaining felony counts.
The death penalty was not sought in the case.
Cherokee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joseph Campbell said that the murder was not committed in cold blood, or with malice — which could have come with a death sentence — but was the result of a robbery and a fight that got out of control.
The state of Georgia does not characterize the charge of murder into degrees, such as first-degree murder.
It essentially comes down to whether or not a murder is committed with malicious intent that determines the severity of the sentence.
The charge of felony murder indicates that the homicide took place during the commission of a felony, according to Georgia law.
Felony murder can be punishable by death, according to Georgia law, but the prosecution sought life imprisonment instead.