Opening statements will begin today in the trial of Woodbridge man charged with shooting and killing his wife and a Prince William County police officer in February 2016.
A jury panel of 16—including 12 jurors and four alternates—was seated Monday in the capital murder trial of Ronald Williams Hamilton.
In a selection process that stretched over five weeks, attorneys questioned more than 300 jurors before selecting the jury, made up of two men and 14 women, for a trial that is expected to last 12 weeks, ending in November.
During the jury selection process, potential jurors filled out written questionnaires and faced questions from attorneys, both individually and in small groups, to determine their eligibility. Questions focused on their prior knowledge of the case, their availability to serve for the length of the trial and their willingness to consider the death penalty, among other things.
Hamilton, 34, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including three counts of capital murder, for the shooting deaths of his wife, Crystal Hamilton, 29, and Officer Ashley Guindon, 28. Hamilton also pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted capital murder for the shootings of two other police officers, who survived.
If convicted of capital murder, Hamilton could be sentenced to death or to life in prison.
Hamilton, a U.S. Army staff sergeant who served two tours of duty in Iraq, is expected to appear in court dressed in his Army service uniform.
Court officials planned to reserve several rows on each side of the courtroom for family members of both Hamilton’s and the victims.
During jury selection, prosecutors listed 77 potential witnesses they could call in the case; defense attorneys listed 55 potential witnesses. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys said they don’t anticipate calling all of their possible witnesses.
Prosecutors say Hamilton shot his wife inside their home on the 13000 block of Lashmere Court in Woodbridge on Feb. 27, 2016, and then shot three police officers who responded to his wife’s 911 call for help.
Guindon, the police officer who was fatally shot, was in the middle of her first day on the job a Prince William County police officer when she responded to the call along with her training officer. She had been sworn in the day before.
Crystal Hamilton, who worked for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment, was found dead in a bedroom in the house, police said.
According to court records, Hamilton spoke to police after the shooting and made statements indicating he shot the officers.
For more coverage of Hamilton’s trial, follow www.princewilliamtimes.com.
Reach Amanda Heincer at email@example.com