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Jury returns verdict in brothers’ murder trial

A jury returned verdicts Wednesday night in the trial of Anthony and Jordan Hottenstein, two brothers on trial for murder.

The jury acquitted Jordan of two counts of murder; his brother Anthony was also found not guilty on two counts of murder and not guilty of felonious assault, but guilty of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm in a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence.

The judge did not set a sentencing date.

After the verdict was read in court, Richard Mayhall, Jordan’s attorney, said he was confident the jury would see his client as not guilty, but with life behind bars at stake, “I took nothing for granted.”

“You never know what’s going to happen with a jury,” Mayhall said. “I thought the evidence went well. The government’s theory was that there was a plan to kill Jamez Hall. I didn’t see evidence of a plan.”

Jon Paul Rion, Anthony’s attorney, said the jury deliberated for about three hours and was “very attentive” during the week and a half long trial.

“We felt the jury made the right decision,” Rion said. “The Castle Doctrine was applied in this case. If deadly force is used while someone invades your property (house or vehicle), self-defense is presumed.”

The charges stemmed from the July 2011 shooting death of 19-year-old Jamez Hall.

Jordan Hottenstein faced two counts of murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder. Anthony Hottenstein faced two counts of murder with weapon specifications, two counts of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, felonious assault with a weapon specification and breaking and entering.

The brothers admitted they were going with Hall to complete a drug deal on July 23, 2011. However, Jordan Hottenstein testified that while driving on Old Mill Road, Hall tried to rob him of those drugs, displaying a gun and demanding he hand over the marijuana. The two struggled, and Jordan Hottenstein said he yelled for help from his brother, who was armed in the backseat.

“He said ‘Hey, help. He has got a gun.’ So I had to make a quick decision, and I started to shoot,” Anthony Hottenstein said on the stand.

Neither brother said they were sure if Hall had been hit during the initial gunfire. Jordan Hottenstein was shot, hitting the gas and causing the car to strike a guardrail. Anthony Hottenstein said he accidentally fired the gun again when he was jerked forward in the crash.

Hall was found dead in the passenger seat. Anthony said he pulled Jordan from the car and then ran. He was later apprehended by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Merrell cited a text message Jordan received from his brother stating “give me the word” as a sign the brothers intended to kill Hall.

“It’s your testimony that’s not true. What you did actually is self-defense?” he asked Anthony during cross-examination.

“I’m under oath. I’m telling the truth,” Anthony Hottenstein said.

Closing arguments were heard and the jury began deliberations Wednesday. Anthony Hottenstein remains in the Clark County Jail on $250,000 bond, while Jordan Hottenstein is out of jail after posting his $75,000 bond.