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Redding Hitchhiker Stabbed After Conversation About Religion

By Kelli Saam
Published On: Mar 27 2013 12:42:42 PM CDT
Hamilton, Clayton photo

Clayton Hamilton mugshot

REDDING, Calif. -

A hitchhiker from Redding was the victim of a brutal attack.  It happened on Highway 101 in Humboldt County around 8:30  Monday night.    

Deputies said the suspect Clayton Hamilton, 29 , told a friend the victim was "evil" and he wanted to kill him.

Hamilton had picked up the victim, a 46-year-old transient, in Redding and drove to Humboldt County.

The victim was found lying in the middle of the road at the Weott Overpass in Weott.  He was stabbed in the chest and abdomen.

The victim told deputies they'd had a discussion about religion that's when Hamilton pulled over and stabbed him.

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 March 21 and said he had a business opportunity and was on his way out to meet up with him to discuss it.

On March 25 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 Hamilton's vehicle southbound on US 101 as he was traveling northbound. The friend pursued Hamilton's vehicle, finally catching up with him at Weott.

The friend witnessed a struggle in the truck. He opened Hamilton's trucks door and saw Hamilton had a knife in his hands and there was blood all over the interior of the truck. The victim 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 Hamilton's 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.