Contra Costa County inmate identified as primary suspect in 1996 cold case murder
Above: File photo of Danny Lamont Hamilton | Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office
The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office has announced charges of murder against a current inmate after he was recently identified as the primary suspect in the 1996 murder of a young Vallejo woman.
21-year-old Priscilla Lewis was found dead on the night of September 24, 1996, in the basement bathroom of the restaurant on 2nd Avenue in Crockett where she worked. Investigators later determined the cause of death to have been asphyxia by drowning, the Sheriff’s Office said.
In 2020, following years of exhaustive investigation including search warrants and the rigorous gathering and analysis of evidence, investigators forwarded the case to the Sheriff’s Office crime lab to be tested with current technology.
DNA testing ultimately identified Danny Lamont Hamilton as the primary suspect. Hamilton had served time at the Martinez Detention Facility for an unrelated sexual assault charges from 1999 to 2002, hence why his DNA was on file.
Hamilton was ultimately convicted of the charges and sentenced to 295 years, which he was currently serving when identified as Priscilla Lewis’s alleged murderer, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Hamilton, now 51, was formally charged with Lewis’s murder on Wednesday, December 8.