On 3-25-2013, approximately 8:30 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriffís Office was notified of a stabbing which just occurred on US 101 at the Weott Overpass, in Weott. Humboldt County Sheriffís Deputies, California Highway Patrol (C.H.P.) officers and medical personnel responded to the scene. When deputies and CHP Officers arrived they found the 46 year old male victim, who is a transient from the Redding Area, in the middle of US 101 on the Weott overpass. Several citizens were attempting to render aid to the victim, including one citizen who was applying pressure on the victimís chest wound. Deputies learned from several passing motorists that was how they found the victim in the roadway.
Deputies located the suspect who identified as Clayton Winfield Hamilton, 29 years old from Orem, Utah. Hamilton was detained and was treated at the scene for a laceration wound to his hand that required stitches. Hamilton admitted to stabbing the victim three or four times with a knife. He told the deputies it was self defense.
Deputies interviewed a 30 year old male friend of the suspect who was at the scene. The friend who resides in Rio Dell, told deputies he had not seen or heard from Hamilton in five years. The friend told the deputies Hamilton called him from Utah on 3-21-2013 and said he had a business opportunity and was on his way out to meet up with him to discuss it. On 3-25-2012 he arrived in Rio Dell to meet up with his friend. The friend saw Hamilton speaking with a male victim who was hitchhiking in front of the Shell Gas station in Rio Dell. The victim told Hamilton he wanted a ride to Garberville. The three got together and decided to go for lunch in Fortuna first at McDonalds. At lunch Hamilton told the victim he wanted to talk with his friend, alone so the victim walked off. Hamilton told his friend the victim was evil and he needed to kill him. Hamilton left the friend saying he was going to find the victim.
The friend began to worry Hamilton was serious and would harm the victim and went looking for Hamilton. The friend saw Hamiltonís vehicle southbound on US 101 as he was traveling northbound. The friend pursued Hamiltonís vehicle, finally catching up with him at Weott. The friend caught up with Hamilton at Sewell Drive and Spring Street in Weott. Hamiltonís truck stopped and the friend approached the truck. The friend witnessed a struggle in the truck. He opened Hamiltonís trucks door and saw Hamilton had a knife in his hands and there was blood all over the interior of the truck. The friend grabbed Hamilton and began to pull him from the vehicle. This allowed the victim to escape the truck. The friend then called 911 to report the crime.
Deputies were able to interview the victim at a local hospital where he was being treated for multiple stab wounds, including one to the chest and one to the abdomen. Doctors told deputies the wounds were life threatening. The victim related a similar story as Hamiltonís friend but added that he was originally picked up hitchhiking by Hamilton in Redding and was given a ride to Rio Dell by Hamilton who stopped to meet up with a friend. The victim told Hamilton he wanted a ride to Garberville when he was picked up in Redding. After they ate at McDonalds and he walked off after Hamilton told him to leave, he was picked up a second time during the drive to Garberville he and Hamilton had a discussion about religion. Hamilton suddenly pulled off to the side of the road in Weott and told the victim he had to kill him. Hamilton produced a large knife and began stabbing the victim repeatedly.
Hamilton was arrested for attempted murder and was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for attempted murder. His bail is set at $500,000.00.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
Mike Downey Sheriff