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Prosecutors seek death penalty against Florida man for ‘merciless and cruel’ slaying of deputy on Christmas Eve

Left: Timothy Price Williams looks directly at the camera for a booking photo. He has short, dark hair and pallid skin and appears to not be wearing a shirt. Right: Corp. Ray Hamilton looks directly at the camera in an official photo. He is wearing his uniform and has short dark hair and tanned skin.

Timothy Price-Williams and Corporal Ray Hamilton (Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office)

Prosecutors in Florida this week declared that they will be pursuing the death penalty against a 43-year-old man accused of shooting and killing a sherif’s deputy who was responding to a domestic violence call on Christmas Eve.

Ginger Bowden Madden, the state attorney for Florida’s First Judicial Circuit, announced on Monday that her office will seek the death penalty for Timothy Paul Price-Williams II, who is charged with one count of first-degree willful premeditated homicide with a weapon in the Dec. 24 death of Corporal Ray Hamilton of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO).

“Every capital murder case must be evaluated on its own facts to determine if a reasonable jury made up of our citizens could unanimously sentence a defendant to death. It is the most serious penalty available under Florida law, and I approach this responsibility with great thoughtfulness, humility, and a sense of duty to the rule of law,” Madden said in a Monday press release. “Defendant Timothy Price-William II’s attack and killing of Corporal Hamilton, while he was performing his duties as a law enforcement officer, was particularly merciless and cruel. My office will ask a jury to sentence him to death.”

As previously reported by Law&Crime, Corporal Hamilton responded to a call on the morning of Dec. 24 about a possible domestic disturbance at a residence located in the 700 block of North Park Boulevard. The victim reported that Price-Williams had “slapped her in the face and shoved her during an argument the night before,” then took her phone away to prevent her from calling 911, authorities said in a press release.

After deputies made contact with Price-Williams, he refused to come out of his home, even after the OSCO Special Response Team was called in, the sheriff’s office said.

“The OCSO Special Response Team was summoned to try to negotiate with Price-Williams to give himself up peacefully,” the release stated. “Several deputies, including Corporal Ray Hamilton, entered an area behind the backyard fence of the premises to help establish a safe perimeter. Once they got into position, shots were fired from inside the home and Corporal Hamilton was struck.”

Hamilton, a five-year OSCO veteran and a member of the department’s Special Response Team, was rushed to the hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries shortly after 3:00 p.m., the sheriff’s office said.

Price-Williams sustained a gunshot wound to his right arm during the firefight. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment and subsequently booked in jail on the charge of premeditated murder.

“We are devastated by the grief of losing Corporal Hamilton, a deputy who was a ray of sunshine in the OCSO, dedicated to protecting others,” Sheriff Eric Aden said in a statement following Hamilton’s death. “We appreciate the endless stream of words of support that have come in for his family and his co-workers as we face this heartbreaking loss of a profoundly loved and respected friend, public servant, and hero.”

Price-Williams is currently scheduled to appear for a plea hearing on Feb. 16 and a pre-trial conference on March 13. Records indicate that he does not currently have an attorney representing him in the matter.

Read the state’s notice of intent below.

(images via Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office)

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.