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Charges Filed In 1996 Murder Case, Sheriff Announces

Suspect Danny Lamont Hamilton. Left photo was taken in 1999; right photo was taken in 2019.

From the Office of the Sheriff:

Cold Case Homicide Suspect Formally Charged with Crockett Murder

On September 24, 1996, Priscilla Lewis, a 21-year-old resident of Vallejo, was working as a waitress at the Four Corners restaurant at 628 2nd Avenue in Crockett. The cook at the restaurant called 9-1-1 shortly before 10:30 PM after finding her body in the basement bathroom. The cause of death was asphyxia due to drowning.

Priscilla Lewis

Since that time, detectives from the Sheriff’s Office have continued the investigation, interviewing dozens of people while the crime lab analyzed numerous pieces of evidence. Several search warrants were also served. Despite persistent investigation for over two decades, the case remained unsolved.

In 2020, detectives submitted additional evidence to the crime lab to be tested using current technology. A DNA match came back to that of Danny Lamont Hamilton, incarcerated at the Martinez Detention Facility from 1999-2002 for unrelated sexual assault charges. He was later convicted of those charges and sentenced to prison for 295 years.

Hamilton, who is 51-years-old, is currently serving his term at a state prison near San Diego. On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, homicide detectives from the Sheriff’s Office presented the case to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office. Hamilton was charged with one count of murder along with numerous enhancements in the Priscilla Lewis case, including:

  1. Murder by lying in wait
    2. Felony murder kidnapping
    3. Felony murder burglary
    4. Felony murder-enumerated sex offense (committed during an attempted rape)

“I would like to recognize the many Sheriff’s Office homicide detectives and crime lab staff for their dedication and relentless work in the murder of Priscilla Lewis in 1996,” said Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston. “We continue to investigate unsolved homicides in an effort to provide families, like that of Priscilla Lewis, with answers and some closure and to hold suspects accountable.”

Homicide detectives are continuing to investigate this case. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at (925) 313-2600 or through Sheriff’s Office dispatch at (925) 646-2441. For any tips, email: tips@so.cccounty.us or call (866) 846-3592 to leave an anonymous voice message.


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