On March 2, 2011, nearly four years after he was reported missing, the body of then twenty-three year Orlando Quentin Hamilton was found under a house on North College Street in Statesboro. Last week the man charged with the death, 25 year old Cortney Antwan Cooper of Oak Street, was sentenced to life in prison.
Cooper told police he and Hamilton were involved in “sword fighting” in 2007 in which Hamilton had an ax while he had a “samurai” sword. He said he struck Hamilton only once. After wrapping Hamilton’s body in a sheet Cooper hid it under an unoccupied house. It was found four later by a man who made an anonymous call to the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office who claimed he was inspecting the house prior to a possible purchase. Police say he was most likely stealing copper tubing and wiring when he found the body.
An autopsy by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation determined the death was a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the head and neck.
Police were lead to Cooper after a woman told them she had met Cooper in a halfway house in 2010. The woman said Cooper told her he was on drugs when he killed Hamilton.
Cooper avoided a trial by accepting a plea bargain and entered a plea of guilty. Bulloch County Superior Court Judge William E. Woodrum accepted the prosecution’s agreement and sentenced Cooper to life in prison for murder, and another five years to run concurrently for concealing the death of another.