The Happy Couple
It appeared Dr. John Hamilton and wife Susan had the perfect marriage. During the 14 years they were together he proved to be quite the romantic. A Porsche for his beautiful bride on their wedding day was just the beginning of his extravagant gifts. He doted upon Susan with expensive presents, luxurious holidays, and amazing vacations.
After meeting in 1985 they soon married two years later. After their marriage Susan began working at Dr. Hamilton’s practice. He was a highly regarded OB/GYN in the community. From the outside looking in, life appeared to be perfect for the couple.
It was Valentine’s Day 2001 when Dr. Hamilton left the office between surgeries to exchange Valentine’s Day cards with his wife. However, when he arrived home he made a gruesome discovery. In the bathroom he found his wife laying in a pool of her own blood, deceased.
Paramedics observed Susan had been strangled with two of her husband’s neckties. She was also repeatedly bludgeoned on the head with a blunt instrument. The object has never been found. The injuries were so severe that parts of her brain were exposed and her face was unrecognizable.
From the start there were many indicators that lead police to make Dr. Hamilton their number one suspect. There was no forced entry into the home, no items were stolen from the house, and despite the amount of bloodshed there weren’t any bloody prints at the scene.
The Not So Perfect Marriage
While investigating the home the police found a Valentine’s Day card from Susan to John. It read “I bought this two weeks ago, so I guess maybe it doesn’t seem as appropriate. But I do love you. Have a great day, Susan.”
Could this message have indicated turmoil in the relationship? Maybe their relationship wasn’t as picture perfect as it seemed.
Another clue that the marriage may have begun to sour was when Susan found John had been making phone calls to a topless dancer. In fact, there were dozens of calls to this woman on his cell phone. Did she catch him in an affair? Friend’s of Susan said she accused him of such, and she began to think about asking for a divorce.
At trial the good doctor had many supporters. The community refused to believe Dr. Hamilton was capable of such a crime.
At trial it all came down to blood evidence.
Dr. Hamilton was observed by paramedics covered in his wife’s blood. However, despite his claim of preforming CPR on Susan, there was a lack of blood on his mouth and face. Not having a trace of blood on his face was impossible given the severity of Susan’s injuries to her head and face. Paramedics also observed him preforming chest compressions incorrectly. For a doctor they found this incredibly strange.
Blood was also found on the steering wheel of Dr. Hamilton’s car. He claimed to have moved it for first responders before they arrived at the house, but this created doubt throughout the courtroom.
Lastly, the defense brought in a crime scene investigator, Tom Bevel, as an expert witness. They had him testify on the blood evidence, an area he specialized in.
Bevel claimed the blood found on Dr. Hamilton was indeed consistent with his story of trying to save his wife. However, Bevel noticed something the authorities and the prosecutor’s expert did not. Bevel found blood inside the right sleeve of Dr. Hamilton’s shirt sleeve.
The defense attorney concluded with asking Bevel if there was anything the prosecution missed that was important to the case and for the jury to know. Bevel couldn’t keep to himself the conclusions he had drawn from the crime scene. He said the blood found inside Dr. Hamilton’s shirt was consistent with Hamilton beating his wife to death with a blunt instrument.
The courtroom fell silent. A defense witness testified against his own client, very well condemning him to prison.
Later Bevel claimed he had to tell the truth, despite the fact it hurt John Hamilton who hired him to keep him out of prison. “Ultimately, you take an oath to tell the truth and that overrides any allegiance I may have to my client.”
With Bevel’s testimony it took the jury only two hours to find the doctor guilty of first degree murder. Dr. Hamilton was sentenced to life in prison.