According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a Fulton County jury acquitted Vito, born Vinson Hardimon, of murder and felony murder, but he was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a handgun during the commission of a felony for the December 2011 death of Slim Dunkin, real name Mario Hamilton. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall gave him the maximum 25-year sentence, noting that Vito, 29, was involved in another gun incident eight months before Hamilton’s death.
Hamilton’s father, Mark Hamilton, wasn’t happy with the murder and felony murder acquittals, but was pleased that Vito was getting serious jail time. "I’m disappointed with that verdict," Hamilton said. "I don’t know what [the jury] saw. In the end, he got 25 years and we can have some closure."
Prosecutors claimed that Vito shot Slim, 24, during a fight at the former’s east Atlanta studio on Dec. 21, 2011. Slim was recording a video with rapper Gucci Mane at the time. After Vito and Slim were initially separated, witnesses say the latter charged at Vito, who then fired his weapon, killing the victim.
Vito's mother, Anna Gail Hardimon, defended him despite the verdict.
"My son has been made out to be a horrible person," she said. "His dream was taken from him, along with his time with his children."
But the prosecutor pointed to an April 27, 2011, aggravated assault charge for which Hardimon took an "Alford" guilty plea — which means he didn’t admit actual guilt, but rather agreed that a prosecutor might find enough evidence to convince a jury to convict — on charges that he pointed a gun at his ex-girlfriend and her 16-year-old daughter. Vito was arrested and released on $36,000 bond; he later made the plea while already in jail for Hamilton’s shooting last year.
After the verdict, Fulton assistant district attorney Linda Dunikoski pointed out that this incident was linked to Vito's killing of Slim. "While out on bond for those charges, he committed this crime with the very same handgun," she said, asking for the maximum sentence. "The state is asking you to send a message."
The judge agreed with prosecutors. "I just think he's prone to carry a gun, and he's violent and dangerous," Schwall said. "There are two kinds of criminals. The ones we’re mad at and the ones we’re scared of. My job is to protect society from the ones we’re afraid of."
BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.
Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photos: Courtesy Facebook)