Pentagon Army Sgt. Charged With Killing Wife, Officer Held Without Bond

Police say Crystal Hamilton called 911 Saturday evening after getting into a physical altercation with her husband. Investigators believe she was murdered before the officers arrived.

The Army staff sergeant charged with killing his wife and a Virginia police officer on her first day on the job was arraigned in court Monday in connection with the deadly exchange, which also wounded two other officers.

Prince William County PD

Ronald Hamilton, 32, showed no emotion as he was arraigned in two separate hearings because the charges are being handled by two different courts. The first hearing was held in the county's Juvenile and Domestic Court on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Hamilton's wife, 29-year-old Crystal Hamilton.

Northern Virginia Capital Defender Ed Ungvarsky stepped forward, seeking to represent Ronald Hamilton during the hearing. The commonwealth attorney objected, telling the judge the charges in this particular case were not a capital offense. But Ungvarsky argued he should be allowed to represent Ronald Hamilton as the charge he is facing in the death of Prince William County Officer Ashley Guindon is a capital offense. 

One of Crystal Hamilton's friends cried in the front row during the proceedings, NBC4 Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reported. 

Crime scene investigators are still pouring over every inch of the Hamiltons' Woodbridge home, the scene of one of the worst shootings in years in Prince William county. On the lawn, the memorial to Crystal Hamilton grows.

Police said Ronald Hamilton shot his wife and Guindon following a domestic altercation at the couple's Woodbridge home. According to court documents, Hamilton admitted he shot his wife and the officers. He is being held without bond in the Prince William County Adult Detention Center in Manassas, Virginia.

Crystal Hamilton called 911 Saturday evening after getting into a physical altercation with her husband, police said. Investigators believe she was killed before officers arrived. 

According to police, Ronald Hamilton confronted and shot all three officers when they approached the front door. 

The couple's 11-year-old son was also home at the time of the shooting but was unharmed.

Wendy Howard, Crystal Hamilton's sister, thanked the community for its support in the wake of her sister's death.

"We just want to thank everyone... the officers that were involved, and most importantly, the officer who sacrificed her life for my sister and my nephew," Wendy Howard said. "I thank you and God bless your family."

Ronald Hamilton is an active duty Army staff sergeant assigned to the Joint Staff Support Center at the Pentagon, according to Cindy Your, a Defense Information Systems Agency spokeswoman based at Fort Meade, Maryland.

He previously signed releases that would have given the prosecution access to his military health records, but Ungvarsky requested that the releases be rescinded. 

Ronald Hamilton was charged in 2007 with assault in another state. He was allowed to enter a diversion program to avoid jail time.

He worked as an information technology specialist and had been stationed at the Pentagon since 2011. Ronald Hamilton was deployed in Iraq twice, from Feb. 2003 to Feb. 2005 and again from Oct. 2005 to Sept. 2006. He received numerous service awards and Army commendation and service medals.

The injured officers were identified as Jesse Hempen, 31, an eight-year veteran of department; and David McKeown, 33, a 10-year department veteran. They are expected to recover, Hudson said. Details about their injuries were not released.

More than 100 patrol cars lined the roads outside Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia on Sunday night to stand vigil and provide escort to the medical examiner for Guindon's body. 

“It is a sad day for everyone in this room. A sad day for law enforcement,” Prince William County police Chief Stephan Hudson said during a news conference Sunday. “We extend our condolences to Ashley’s mother and extended family.”

Guindon went through training with the department last year before leaving for personal reasons. She rejoined the department this year and had been sworn in as an officer on Friday. She was on her first shift Saturday when she was shot.

"We were struck by her passion to do this job," Hudson said. "She did share with us when we rehired her that she felt like she wanted to do this job. She couldn't get it out of her blood."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us