Bucks County man charged with raping two girls faces accusers in court
David Allen Hamilton Jr. led police on a week-long manhunt before his arrest in September.
This summer, David Allen Hamilton Jr. desperately tried to outrun accusations that he repeatedly raped two underage girls, hiding in the woods of Bucks County, assaulting a police officer, and stealing a bedridden woman's car before being caught hiding in a closet in a relative's home two counties away.
But he couldn't flee Monday, when the two people prosecutors say he assaulted faced him in a district judge's courtroom, tearfully recounting the crimes he's accused of committing.
Hamilton, 48, has been charged with rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor, and related offenses. District Judge Daniel Baranoski held Hamilton for trial at County Court, where he is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 30.
His attorney, Sharif Abaza, declined to comment after Monday's hearing. Hamilton will remain in custody, denied bail after being ruled a flight risk.
The Feasterville resident made headlines last month when U.S. marshals joined local police in searching for him after a warrant was issued for his arrest in the assaults on the girls, whose mother is an acquaintance of his.
The girls said Hamilton assaulted them multiple times over five years, starting when each was 9. One girl, now 12, said Monday that Hamilton raped her, telling her to "be quiet and not say anything." The other, now 14, said Hamilton also took explicit pictures of her inside a bathroom in his home.
Police in Lower Southampton Township said the assaults were reported Sept. 14, and an arrest warrant was issued for Hamilton five days later.
To avoid capture, investigators say, Hamilton withdrew to a secluded patch of woods in the area, stopping only to buy a tent and other supplies. Hamilton spent 20 years in the Army as a cavalry scout, serving two tours of duty in Iraq and honing skills that police believe allowed him to remain hidden.
He eluded law enforcement until Sept. 21, when a New Hope resident reported seeing him near the borough. Officer Steven Gruber responded to the scene and attempted to arrest Hamilton, getting into a violent scuffle with him, according to court filings.
During the scuffle, Hamilton tried to grab Gruber's gun, but the officer was able to fight him off. Hamilton fled, only to be spotted nearby days later by an archer.
A break in the case came on Sept. 26, when police in Solebury Township interviewed Meredith Custodio, a live-in caretaker for a cancer patient in the Fox Run Preserve subdivision.
Custodio, 58, told police that Hamilton had stolen a vehicle reported missing from the home, and that she had given him refuge there when he approached her days earlier, according to an affidavit filed in connection with her later arrest.
She told investigators that Hamilton, whom she had previously dated, had appeared at the home disheveled and asked to stay with her. She obliged, later giving him the keys to a Toyota Avalon parked at the home.
For her role in aiding Hamilton, Custodio has been charged with impeding apprehension, conspiracy, and related offenses.
On Sept. 28, acting on a tip, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and local police officers surrounded a home in Aston, Delaware County, authorities said. Inside, they found Hamilton hiding upstairs, and he surrendered without resistance. A relative of Hamilton's owns the home but does not face any criminal charges.
Hamilton faces additional criminal proceedings in the alleged assault of the New Hope officer and theft of the Toyota. Preliminary hearings in both cases are scheduled for Tuesday.