U.S. Seeks Death Penalty in USPS Worker Murder Case

HOUSTON, October 7, 2014 – The United States has filed a motion of its intent to seek the death penalty upon the conviction of James Wayne Ham for the murder of a mail carrier with the United States Postal Service (USPS), announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Inspector in Charge Robert Wemyss of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and San Jacinto County District Attorney Richard Countiss.

A grand jury sitting in Houston returned a two-count indictment against Ham, 37, of Coldspring, on June 13, 2013. He is charged with one count of murder and one count of using a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.

The indictment alleges that on or about May 17, 2013, Ham committed premeditated murder of a USPS employee while she was engaged in the performance of her official duties and that he intentionally carried, brandished and discharged a firearm in the commission of that murder.

The investigation began shortly following the receipt of a 911 call from the son of the now deceased USPS worker on Friday, May 17. He indicated he had been speaking with his mother via cell phone and heard two loud noises. His mother allegedly told him she had been shot. Shortly thereafter, the phone was disconnected, according to the complaint.

Court documents allege the victim was shot on Friday, May 17, 2013, shortly after delivering mail at Ham’s residence. The victim was on her normal rural delivery route in her personal vehicle. Ham allegedly shot her multiple times at close range with a .30/30 caliber rifle.

Ham then allegedly drove the vehicle to a nearby secluded area and set it on fire.

According to the complaint, the victim’s body was discovered in her burning vehicle in San Jacinto County. Firefighters extinguished the flames and found the woman inside.

The investigation eventually led to Ham after it was discovered he had allegedly complained previously about not getting his mail delivered properly, according to the complaint.

Ham was located after an extensive manhunt and arrested without incident Sunday, May 20, 2013, near his home in San Jacinto County.

If convicted, he now faces the death penalty.

A variety of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have been and will continue to work together in furtherance of the investigation and prosecution of this matter to ensure the proper administration of justice.

The case is being investigated by the USPIS, San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Rangers, San Jacinto Constable Precinct 4, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, Texas Parks and Wildlife, San Jacinto County Fire Marshall and the San Jacinto County District Attorney’s Office. Also providing assistance was the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the volunteer fire departments in Point Blank and Cape Royale. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe Magliolo, Casey MacDonald and Suzanne Elmilady are prosecuting.


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