MANASSAS, Va. — Army Staff Sergeant Ronald Hamilton rose from his seat at the defense table Tuesday and nodded to more than 100 potential jurors who could determine whether Hamilton lives or dies for the murder of his wife and a rookie police officer who was killed during her first shift.
Jury selection is expected to take several days at Prince William County Circuit Court.
Hamilton is charged with three counts of capital murder and 14 other charges in connection with the Feb. 27, 2016, killings of his wife, Crystal Hamilton, and Prince William County police officer Ashley Guindon.
Hamilton served two tours of duty in Iraq, according to earlier motions filed by his attorneys.
Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert has said he intends to seek the death penalty for Crystal Hamilton’s and Guindon’s murders.
Hamilton pleaded not guilty during his arraignment.
Jurors aren’t aware that shortly after police arrived at Hamilton’s home in the 13,000 block of Lashmere Court he admitted shooting his wife, as well as Guindon and Officers Jesse Hempen and David McKeown, as they arrived at his home for the domestic abuse call.
Charging documents show Hamilton said he used an AK-47 and had shot his wife because they were arguing. The couple’s then-11-year-old son was in the home at the time of the murders.
According to the police report, Hamilton cried, and told the responding officer “I ruined my life,” and “Take your gun out and shoot me now.”
Although two victims died, under Virginia law, Hamilton faces three counts of capital murder: killing a law enforcement officer, killing more than one person in a single event and killing more than one person within three years.
Earlier, Hamilton’s attorney Edward Ungvarsky unsuccessfully argued for a change of venue, because of pretrial publicity.
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