Joshual Hilton.jpg

Joshual Hilton

The 32-year-old Baton Rouge man who was arrested in the death of a 12-year-old boy after a police chase said Thursday afternoon that he did not hit the child with his pickup truck, according to his attorney.

Joshual Hilton, who was arrested on manslaughter in the incident, maintained he was innocent in what his attorney Ron Haley called a "tragic and avoidable accident that took the life of Sammy," in a statement regarding the death of Samuel "Sammy" Lee III.

Haley said that he filed a motion Thursday in the 19th Judicial District Court asking to inspect the pickup truck Hilton was driving as well as the law enforcement vehicles involved in the May 31 police chase.

"The defendant has maintained and will continue to maintain that he did not hit the minor victim," the motion states.

Haley also requested any available ballistic evidence.

State Police spokesman Trooper 1st Class Bryan Lee declined to respond directly to the statements from Hilton's lawyer. He said their agency stands by their arrests.

The statement and motion from Hilton's attorney came within 24-hours of Hilton's re-booking by Baton Rouge police on counts of obstruction of justice, aggravated flight from an officer and possession with intent to distribute Schedule II drugs.

The arrest report detailing the new counts included more information about the events leading up to the chase that police allege ended when the pickup truck driven by Hilton struck and killed the boy.

Baton Rouge narcotics detectives on May 31 were monitoring a house at 5123 Berryville Court because "reliable information was developed indicating the residence was being utilized to received shipments of (drugs)," according to an arrest report filed Wednesday.

Around 5 p.m. detectives observed Hilton enter the residence. A few minutes later, he came out and drove away in his Ford F-150, the report says.

His actions were consistent with what detectives had seen in other narcotics pickups, according to the report, so police tailed Hilton until he stopped at a red light in the 2300 block of O'Neal Lane, more than two miles from the house.

While at the light, detectives turned on their lights and pulled their cars around Hilton's vehicle in an attempt to block him, the report says. Detectives, wearing vests with the word "POLICE" emblazoned across them, got out of their vehicles and approached Hilton on foot, the report says.

Hilton began to drive his truck toward one of the detectives while other officers gave him "audible and visual signals to stop," but instead Hilton accelerated toward the detective, the report says.

"As it became obvious (Hilton) was going to intentionally run over the detective, a second BRPD narcotics detective shot (him)," the report says.

Hilton was injured by a gunshot, but after hitting the detective with his pickup truck, he fled the scene toward Old Hammond Highway with the police chasing him, the report says. The officer was not injured, police have said.

As he raced down the road, Hilton threw large quantities of suspected crystal methamphetamine out the driver's side window of the truck, the report says. As he approached Gloria Drive, Sammy was crossing Old Hammond Highway. Police said this is when Hilton allegedly struck and killed the boy. Hilton stopped in the 15200 block of Old Hammond Highway shortly after running over the boy, according to the report. Hilton was then taken into custody.

When detectives examined his truck, they reported seeing a large amount of suspected crystal meth inside the vehicle.

Detectives recovered about 34 grams of crystal meth from O'Neal Lane and about 112 grams of suspected crystal meth from the interior of the pickup, the report says.

In the attorney's statement, Haley questioned Hilton's latest booking.

"We question the timing of these charges and why it has taken over a week to charge him with these crimes," Haley said.

Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola said their re-booking of Hilton was not immediate because officers had to wait for State Police evidence technicians to finish processing the vehicle.

State Police originally arrested Hilton on manslaughter, reckless operation and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle after the incident, and then added a count of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer a day later.

"In this difficult time we ask for patience until the truth comes out," Haley said. "We seek the truth and we believe when the truth comes to light, the truth will show that Josh is not the responsible party for the death of Sammy."

Haley and his law firm, Haley & Associates, are representing Hilton in the manslaughter case. Hilton is also represented by attorney Chris Alexander, who declined to comment Thursday.

Police arrested a second man the day after the fatal police chase when they returned to the residence on Berryville Court with a search warrant, according to an arrest report.

Tony Bickham, 38, was found inside the residence at 5123 Berryville Court, which is where he lives, on June 1 with 468 grams of heroin, 1,649 grams of meth, 228 grams of marijuana, 34 grams of synthetic marijuana, one ecstasy pill, more than $3,000 in cash and two guns, the report says.

Bickham tried to run from police, but was soon arrested, the report says.

Bickham and his vehicle were identified in Hilton's arrest report, as both Hilton's and Bickham's vehicles were being surveilled May 31 before Hilton left the house.

Bickman was booked on three counts of possession with intent to distribute Schedule I drugs, one count of possession with intent to distribute Schedule II drugs, possession of a firearm with a controlled dangerous substance and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The narcotics detective who fired the shots at Hilton has been placed on paid administrative leave since the incident, which is protocol for an officer involved in a shooting, Coppola said. Police are not releasing his identity because of the "sensitivity" of his job, Coppola said.

Follow Grace Toohey on Twitter, @grace_2e.