On August 16, 2018, a homeowner contacted the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office (SO) and reported that his Crawfordville residence had been burglarized. Patrol Deputies, as well as Detectives and a Crime Scene Technician from the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) responded to the residence. The homeowner reported that multiple firearms, Air Jordan Shoes, a flat screen television, two compound bows, various rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, and other items had been stolen from the residence. The homeowner stated that game cameras on his property may have photographed the suspect’s vehicle.
The CID Crime Scene Technician located, photographed and took castings of vehicle tire tracks that led to and from the residence. The front door of the residence appeared to have fresh damage to the glass pane, as well as the casing around the glass. It appeared as if someone had unsuccessfully attempted to break in through the front door glass, and subsequently entered through a bedroom window. The glass to a window in the southeast bedroom had been shattered and the window pushed in. The inside of the residence was in disarray and the closets had been ransacked. In one of the closets, there was gun safe attached to the floor and wall. Someone had attempted to pry it open and there were clear shoe prints on the safe where someone had attempted to dislodge the safe with the bottom of their foot. Latent fingerprints were also located on the safe which were believed to belong to the suspect. The scene was photographed and the latent fingerprints and shoe impressions were lifted as evidence. Through reviewing photographs taken with the homeowner’s game camera, it was determined that on August 16, 2018, at 8:42 a.m., a blue Hyundai registered to a Tallahassee resident, traveled to the residence, and at 9:03 a.m., it departed. The photographs revealed that when the blue Hyundai entered the property, the windows on the house were not broken, but when the blue Hyundai departed, a window was broken.
On August 16, 2018, CID Detectives from Wakulla County SO, Leon County SO and the Tallahassee Police Department made contact with the registered owner of the blue Hyundai, who stated he had loaned his vehicle to “EJ,” subsequently identified as Edward James Hamilton Jr. Later that night, a consensual search was conducted of Mr. Hamilton’s residence, located at 2525 Texas Street, Apartment G-125, Tallahassee, Florida, and stolen property from the Crawfordville burglary was located in the residence. Lying next to the stolen items was Mr. Hamilton’s wallet containing his identification. The stolen property was recovered. The blue Hyundai was towed to the Wakulla County SO Impound Yard so that a search warrant could be executed to search it, as well as to remove the tires for submission to a crime laboratory for comparison to the casting of the tire impressions taken from the burglary scene.
On August 21, 2018, Mr. Hamilton was arrested by the Gadsden County SO after he was found in possession of a firearm reported stolen from a Leon County burglary and he was booked into the Gadsden County Jail. On August 21, 2018, CID Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Hamilton charging him with Burglary while armed; Criminal Mischief; Grand Theft of Firearms; and Grand Theft, no bond. In that Mr. Hamilton was already incarcerated in the Gadsden County Jail, a hold was placed on him to face the charges in Wakulla County. On August 21, 2018, CID Detectives traveled to the Gadsden County Jail and interrogated Mr. Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton admitted to burglarizing the Crawfordville residence and stealing the property.