This brave murdered mom was stabbed and shot in the head by the father of her oldest daughter--even as the mother was defending the daughter's life. Seems DAVID DICKERSON had a history of stalking and harrassment, and, incidentally paid no child support either. Mom had previously obtained an order of protection against him, too. But that didn't keep him from breaking into the mother's home. An aunt who lived nearby pulled a gun on the guy, but dropped it when he threatened to kill his daughter.
Notice that Daddy had previously been arrested for an earlier murder, but charges were dropped when there wasn't "enough" evidence.
Family: Man shot, stabbed child's mom
Fourth Copiah death probed
Therese Apel • email@example.com • January 26, 2011
WESSON — Family members say Paula Hamilton died defending her children from the father of her eldest daughter hours before the couple were to appear in court on stalking charges she and her husband had filed against him.
Authorities say about 7 a.m. Tuesday, David Dickerson, 41, of Hazlehurst shot, stabbed and slashed Hamilton, 36, in a camper trailer behind her home.
Hamilton's slaying is the fourth death authorities are investigating in Copiah County since Saturday night.
Family members said Dickerson came to Hamilton's home on Martinsville Road and attacked her. He then set the camper trailer on fire and escaped in the woods behind the home, they said.
Officers from several jurisdictions began hunting for Dickerson. A neighbor spotted him on foot about 10 a.m. on nearby Beauregard Road, and he was arrested.
Dickerson is charged with capital murder, Sheriff Harold Jones said.
Hamilton lived at the home with her husband, two children, mother and sister. All except her husband were home when, they said, Dickerson showed up armed.
Hamilton's sister, Robbin Herrington, heard someone outside and when Hamilton went out to investigate, Dickerson took her at gunpoint, Herrington, said.
"We were trying to get her away, we were throwing chairs and everything," she said.
When Herrington tried to use the phone to call police, Dickerson went after her, and Hamilton jumped in between them, she said.
"She told me, 'Don't worry about me, worry about the babies,'" Herrington said.
Hamilton's mother, Delma Varner, said Dickerson told them "he was going to kill them all." "His daughter, he punched her in the face and put a gun to her head."
Hamilton's aunt, Linda Austin, lived in the camper trailer and was home when Dickerson came to her niece's house.
Austin said she had heard gunfire outside the trailer, but she thought Dickerson was just trying to frighten Hamilton and Courtney, his 15-year-old daughter by Hamilton.
"It sounded like a cap gun, but it was definitely not a cap gun," Austin said.
Hamilton told her aunt she'd been shot in the head, and there was blood all over her shirt. She and Courtney made it to the camper trailer and were able to lock the door, but the flimsy lock did not hold up and Dickerson broke the door open, Linda Austin said.
Austin said she had her gun ready for when Dickerson came through the door, but when he pointed the gun at his daughter's head, she put it down at his command.
"I was so afraid he would kill her," she said. "I freaked out when he put the gun to the baby's head."
Austin and Courtney escaped from the camper trailer, but Austin said she doesn't remember getting out. She hid in the bushes while the trailer burned. She said she saw Dickerson splashing gas on the camper.
The fire attracted the attention of a local pastor who was driving through. He helped pull Paula Hamilton's body from the burning trailer and into the yard between the two dwellings.
Copiah County Coroner Ellis Stuart said it is unclear what kind of a knife was used to stab Hamilton, but that the gun was a .22-caliber pistol. Neither weapon had been found Tuesday, officials said.
Alan Hamilton said he received a phone call around 8 a.m. that Dickerson had burned down the camper trailer.
"I didn't hear anything about what happened to my wife until I got here," he said.
He said Dickerson "knew I would be gone to work. "He's probably been planning this."
Alan Hamilton said Dickerson had been leaving notes in the mailbox and driving past the home for quite some time. He said Dickerson had not had much of a relationship with his daughter through the years, and that he did not pay child support.
Copiah County Justice Court Clerk Carolyn Morgan said the Hamiltons had filed for a restraining order in the fall, but the time on it had run out.
Then when the harassment started up again, the Hamiltons filed stalking charges. They were scheduled to be in court at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Dickerson was arrested on a murder charge in Copiah County from a previous crime, Jones said, but there was not enough evidence to pursue the investigation.
Hamilton's family said they will always remember that she died defending the people she loved.
"She was so brave. She died trying to save the babies," Linda Austin said. In addition to Courtney Hamilton, the Hamiltons' 2-year-old son, Austin, was at home.
In addition to Hamilton's slaying, Copiah County authorities are investigating these deaths from over the weekend:
James Shelton, 53. Around 7:15 p.m. Sunday, Lester Lavon Parker Jr., 15, allegedly shot and killed Shelton, his stepgrandfather, deputies said. Coroner Stuart said Shelton was shot in the back of the head at contact or close range with what appeared to be a 12-gauge shotgun. Parker has been charged with murder.
Merwin Tolson, 48. Tolson was found in his car in the garage of his home on Byrdtown Road Saturday night. The car caught fire and the flames spread to his house. Officials said they believe he may have fallen asleep while smoking in the vehicle after a party down the road. Stuart said there is no sign of foul play, and an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.
Ronald Landry, 63, of Morrow, La., Landry died Saturday after falling from a deer stand. Landry, who was hunting with his friend in Copiah County, was discovered unconscious at the foot of the stand by friends, Stuart said. He was pronounced dead before he could be airlifted from the scene.