Theirs was a brief and tumultuous marriage, troubled from nearly the start.

Frances Hamilton, a former Baltimore Police officer, and Brice Boots, a truck driver, married in Pikesville on April 3, 2020. If they were happy, their bliss didn’t last long.

According to court records, Boots filed for divorce two years later, on Aug. 9, 2022. In the ensuing months, each filed protective orders against the other, alleging physical and verbal abuse. The latest hearing over the matter was scheduled for Jan. 10.

On that day, Frederick County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call in a rural area, where they discovered Boots dead inside a 2003 Toyota Sequoia, 650 feet off the road in a field. The Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that his manner of death was homicide. He was 65.

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On Feb. 24, Hamilton was found dead in Anne Arundel County in what prosecutors said is a suspected suicide. She was 61.

Now, Hamilton’s nephew, Keon Wilson-Hawkins, 20, of West Baltimore, is charged with first-degree murder and related offenses in Boots’ death.

“This very disturbing murder has been a non-stop priority for our agency since it occurred in early January,” Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said in a statement. “This crime is another example of individuals from outside of this county committing violent crimes locally and somehow believing their crimes won’t be solved.”

The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office alleges that Wilson-Hawkins and Hamilton together went to Boots’ home the night before he was found dead and remained there until early morning the next day. Prosecutors assert that they found evidence of a physical altercation and signs that Boots had been forcibly taken from his home.

Phone records showed Hamilton and Wilson-Hawkins left together at 4:37 a.m., prosecutors reported. They traveled down Interstate 70 toward Frederick to the area on Crum Road where Boots was found later that day.

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Frederick County Circuit Judge Julia A. Martz-Fisher on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Wilson-Hawkins after a grand jury indicted him on four counts: first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, kidnapping and carjacking. Three days later, law enforcement arrested him in Baltimore. He’s being held without bond.

Court records show Wilson-Hawkins has been arrested before at least twice, once as a teen.

When he was 16, Baltimore Police arrested him in a robbery that happened on Washington Boulevard near Western Avenue in Southwest Baltimore on Feb. 16, 2020. He had been accused of pointing what turned out to be a BB gun at a man. The case was sent to the juvenile justice system in 2021, court records show, where he was adjudicated delinquent.

“What do I get for robbing a homeless man?” police reported Wilson-Hawkins saying to officers after they placed him in handcuffs.

One year later, on a snowy day in the Penn North neighborhood, Baltimore Police approached Wilson-Hawkins near a drug store on Pennsylvania Avenue on Jan. 3, 2022. Officers claimed they they saw him engage in what they believed were two drug deals, once emerging from an alley holding cash.

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Police later chased after Wilson-Hawkins and took him into custody. Law enforcement patted him down and reported finding a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .40-caliber handgun, two plastic bags containing drugs, and $220. The weapon was reported to have been stolen in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 2017.

Wilson-Hawkins pleaded guilty in 2022 in Baltimore Circuit Court to possession of a regulated firearm by a person under 21 and possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance for a sentence of 1 1/2 years, according to court records.

It is unclear whether Wilson-Hawkins knew Boots.

Hamilton worked for the Baltimore Police Department from Oct. 9, 2001, to Nov. 25, 2009, a spokesperson said, and was a member of the Accident Investigation Unit.

In 2007, Hamilton filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, alleging that she was unlawfully terminated based upon her race, color and gender. She claimed, as the only Black officer assigned to her Accident Investigation Unit, she faced a hostile and antagonistic work environment.

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Former Baltimore Police officer Frances Hamilton died in Anne Arundel County on Feb. 24, 2024. Frederick County prosecutor say she conspired with her nephew to kill her ex-husband, Brice Boots.

In the complaint, she alleged that she was denied leave and additional training and unjustifiably subjected to disciplinary action. Other officers, she asserted, ridiculed and berated her, and spread false rumors about her.

The department’s reasoning for firing her was falsifying traffic citations. An internal investigation found numerous examples of traffic stops in 2005 that were proven to be false, according to police records. The agency found several examples of stops made to vehicles that had been previously junked. In other cases, license tags she recorded on her citations had been canceled or turned in. Drivers she cited were contacted and told police they were not stopped on the dates that she claimed in her tickets.

In an affidavit submitted March 9, 2009, Maj. Mary Patterson, then-director of the Personnel Division, wrote that Hamilton was “terminated because she was accused of making false citizen contact receipts and found guilty at a trial board.”

Patterson said Hamilton was not terminated “on account of her race and/or gender.”

On Aug. 3, 2011, U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander ruled against Hamilton.

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In a deposition in an unrelated lawsuit, Hamilton reported that she had worked as a personal trainer since 2011. She said she was employed for two months at an Amazon distribution center but hurt her wrist and had been on workers’ compensation since 2018.

Hamilton reported that she worked as an executive administrative assistant for the U.S. Army on-and-off for 15 years and was discharged in 2001.

In 2019, Hamilton pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and was sentenced to five years’ probation. She was ordered to pay more $21,500 in restitution.

Boots worked as delivery driver for UPS and for Giant Food, driving semis on long-distance routes, according to his obituary.

Brice Boots was found dead in a field in Frederick County on Jan. 10, 2024. Frederick County prosecutors say his ex-wife and her nephew conspired to kill him.

He grew up in Baltimore and was a talented youth athlete. He played football, basketball, and baseball at Edmondson High School, before attending Virginia Union University on a baseball scholarship. He later attended Towson University and was an avid bowler. He outlived his parents, brother and a beloved dog named CoCo who lived to be 19. Boots’ funeral was held Jan. 23 in Windsor Mill.

It is unclear when and how Boots met Hamilton. What is clear is that they had a contentious marriage.

On Sept. 4, 2022, Hamilton filed a petition for protection from domestic violence in the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore County in Catonsville against Boots. She alleged that Boots made “constant verbal threats” and put a metal pole by the bed.

“I feel my life is in constant danger,” Hamilton wrote in the petition. “Last light, he stole the Ring doorbell and that was the security for the home. We are in the middle of a divorce and he’s doing whatever he can to get me out of the house.”

Hamilton reported that she felt “very unsafe” and described her husband as a “vengeful person.” She later stated that he had an “uncontrollable temper.”

At one point, she alleged, Boots threatened her, saying, “Move something else in this house and see what happens to you.” She claimed her husband took all the toilet paper, paper towels and laundry detergent and hid them.

“Every day,” she reported, “this is escalating.”

Hamilton also claimed Boots got drunk and high on a daily basis.

“I truly do fear this is heading towards physical abuse and I’m trying to take care of this before I’m killed or seriously injured,” Hamilton wrote.

A district court commissioner granted an interim protective order. But District Judge Kevin Y. T. Wiggins denied a petition for a temporary protective order on Sept. 7, 2022, finding that there was no statutory basis for relief.

Hamilton again filed a petition for protection from domestic violence on Dec. 30, 2023, alleging that Boots swung and hit her when she was hanging coats in a closet. A district court commissioner approved an interim protective order.

Then, on Jan. 3, District Judge Michael W. Siri approved a temporary protective order after he found that there were reasonable grounds to believe Boots committed assault.

The next day, Boots filed his own protective order against Hamilton, alleging mental abuse. Boots claimed that Hamilton took out a false protective order against him. He also alleged that Hamilton broke an agreement several times about not taking items out of the home.

Hamilton, he asserted, took down cards from his parents and close friends and removed them as well as expensive watches and four bottles of cologne. Boots claimed that Hamilton owned a weapon, writing, “Gun and she’s a felon,” and listed her employer as hustler and scammer.

District Judge Keith D. Pion denied the petition, finding that Boots could not meet the required burden of proof.

Within a week, another district judge, Karen A. Pilarski approved a final protective order for Hamilton.

Pilarski ordered Boots to have no contact with Hamilton. She also directing him to leave and stay away from their home on Campfield Road near Sudbrook Road in Pikesville.

As part of the decision, Boots was also ordered to surrender all firearms, pay $2,400 every month in family maintenance to Hamilton, and give her exclusive use and possession of a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette. The order was to remain in effect for two years.

Hamilton was personally served with the order. Boots was set to receive a copy in the mail.

That same day, Boots was found dead.

On Feb. 20, Boots’ attorney in the divorce case, Joseph Wright, asked a judge to dismiss the matter.

“It appears,” Wright wrote in court documents, “that the Plaintiff was murdered on January 10, 2024.”

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