A Valentine's Day Murder in Oklahoma

ByABC News
February 13, 2003, 3:08 PM

Feb. 13 -- Everyone says Susan Hamilton was the love of her husband's life.

John Hamilton, a prominent doctor in Oklahoma City, showered his wife with gifts, starting with a Porsche he gave her the day they married. The couple had exotic vacations and a beautiful house, and after 14 years of marriage, friends and family say they were inseparable, and very much in love.

"I think John was so astounded that he had her ... that he had such a wonderful, perfect almost perfect wife, in his opinion," said Shary Coffey, Susan's best friend.

Then came Valentine's Day 2001. John Hamilton, 53, ordered an expensive arrangement of red orchids for his wife, but he never got the chance to give them to her.

Instead, he says, he came home between surgeries that morning to pick up his datebook and was horrified to find his wife lying on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood. She had been strangled with two of his ties, and her head had been smashed so badly that parts of her brain were exposed.

Hamilton, an obstetrician-gynecologist, started performing CPR and called 911. When rescue workers arrived they found him hysterical and covered in his wife's blood. He told them he had been frantically trying to save her life.

The distraught doctor managed to give police an account of his movements that morning. He said he performed a surgery around 7 a.m., then came home to exchange Valentine's cards with his wife. Around 8:50 a.m., he said, he was beeped because he was late for another procedure. After the second surgery, he returned home to pick up his datebook, and found his wife, he said. The doctor was then ushered away, as police wondered who might have committed such a brutal attack.

Card Arouses Suspicion

An important clue came in the card Susan had written to her husband, which had a handwritten note reading: "I bought my cards two weeks ago, so I guess maybe they don't seem as appropriate now. But I do love you. Have a good day. Susan."

The note made police question whether the Hamiltons' marriage was as happy as it had seemed, and they began to regard Hamilton as a suspect. There was no sign of forced entry in the house and nothing was missing, making it unlikely Susan Hamilton, who was 55, was killed by a burglar.