A former Army staff sergeant who was charged with the murder of his wife, as well as a Prince William County police officer, has now been found guilty on each charge during his trial for capital murder, according to Fox 5, based in the Washington, D.C., area.
Now that the 34-year-old Ronald Hamilton has been found guilty of the charges, there is a very real chance that the veteran will be facing the death penalty.
Law enforcement authorities have revealed that on February 27, 2016, Hamilton fatally shot his wife Crystal along with Ashley Guindon, a 28-year-old Prince William County police officer. Guindon arrived on the scene after Hamilton’s wife called 911 over what was at the time a domestic dispute. The day she was murdered was also Guindon’s first day on the job.
Two other officers who had arrived on the scene, Jesse Hempen and David McKeown, were wounded during the shooting, but they survived their injuries.
Before the trial began, Hamilton’s attorneys made clear that their client was willing to plead guilty if the charges of capital murder were taken off of the table. The Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office declined that opportunity and pressed on with three capital murder charges and 14 other counts related to the event.
Testimony for the trial went on for about two weeks, allowing jurors to hear the 911 call made by Crystal Hamilton, who sought the police after her husband hit her and knocked the woman to the floor. As the 911 call ended, Crystal could be heard pleading with Ronald, screaming “Stop!” Prosecutors in the trial said that after the call was completed, Ronald shot his wife four times with a Glock handgun.
The response to the 911 call brought several officers to the Hamilton home. When they tried to enter the home to check on Crystal Hamilton, Ronald refused to allow them entry. When the police finally kicked the door in, they found Ronald armed with an AK-47, which he immediately fired upon them. The three officers who initially entered the building were struck by the gunfire, including Guindon who had just recently been sworn in as a police officer. Hempen and McKeown survived the shooting, but both suffered serious injuries.
One of Ronald Hamilton’s public defenders, Gene Hart, did tell the jury that Hamilton was indeed guilty of the killings, but made an attempt to argue that in the murders there was no premeditation that is required for a capital-murder conviction and potential death penalty that comes with it. Hart urged the jury to instead convict Hamilton of second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, both lesser charges.