With Hamilton in jail, Joyce searched his room in her mother’s home. She found a stash of letters Hamilton had been corresponding with her son, Patrick, for years.
In a letter dated Feb. 6, 2006, written from a halfway house, Hamilton asked Patrick,
“I’m wondering what to tell your mom.”
He said he’d be able to leave the halfway house between July 24 and August 1, 2006, and he’d like to move to Arkansas. He wrote:
“I don’t really know what all to say right now. I guess I just need to hear from you and what’s on your mind.”
By the fall, Hamilton was installed at the farm, and Patrick was telling him how to manipulate Joyce, his brother and Grandma. On October 12, 2006 Patrick wrote:
“Mom has changed a lot since Dad died, and I cannot say why, but brain lesions or a stroke could well explain that. For now, use your best judgment, be as helpful, compassionate and understanding as you can be. Whatever happens, we can come out of it better working together to handle it.”
Hamilton apparently confessed to Patrick that he was having an affair with his brother’s wife. On October 26, 2006, Patrick wrote:
“Here’s what you already know, you are there because I want you there, and I trust you, and none of that shit matters to me. Within certain limits, I have to respect my family’s opinion too, but I consider you a part of my family as well, and if Mom tried to oust my brother, I’d buck her, just as if she tried to oust you for no reason. If there was a reason, we’d work to resolve things. The fact that you have a good helpful attitude just makes all this much easier ”¦
“I figured it would be just a matter of time before you ended up at Grandma’s, but I think that’s the best solution for everyone. That, more than loaded guns, shows how much my family loves and trusts you!
“All you gotta do is help hold the place together until I get there ”¦”
To Joyce, these letters proved what she suspected: Her incarcerated son, Patrick, had sent Hamilton to the farm, and it wasn’t to learn how to raise cattle.
The Monday after Kenneth Hamilton and Laurel Alexander were arrested, they had a bail hearing.
Joyce told her story to the judge: She believed that when Hamilton showed up at her older son’s door with a gun, his intention was to kill him.
She believed that her murderous son, Patrick, had sent Hamilton to infiltrate the family, gain their trust, and then kill her, so that Patrick could inherit the family farm. She believed Patrick’s words, in the letters he wrote to Hamilton, were evidence of the plot.
Hamilton, as a convicted felon, was sent back to prison for possessing a firearm. He was sentenced to five years, with two years suspended.
Laurel Alexander’s bail was set at $150,000. She was eventually found guilty of furnishing a firearm to a felon and received a 5-year suspended sentence.