Jun 20, 2013 3:03 PM by Dwayne Fatherree
Ronjoerox Hamilton pleaded guilty this afternoon to the first-degree murder of 9-year-old Dylan Royer in order to avoid the death penalty. He will instead serve life in prison at hard labor with no chance for parole.
The plea came during a motion hearing setting the stage for Hamilton's first-degree murder trial. Both Hamilton, 32, and Royer's mother, Stefani Morgan, were awaiting trial on charges stemming from the 9-year-old's death.
Hamilton brought Royer to Women and Children's Hospital on the morning of June 11, 2011. Royer was not breathing, and as doctors treated him they discovered he had injuries consistent with a beating. He died the next day at 2:20 in the afternoon.
The plea deal is not a surprise. During a March motions hearing, Assistant District Attorney James Prather told 15th Judicial District Court Judge Marilyn Castle that his office had offered Morgan an opportunity to plead guilty "straight up" with the condition that the District Attorney's Office would take both the death penalty and life imprisonment off the table.
Prather said that offer was not accepted.