'I’m sorry for my actions:' Driver gives teary apology at sentencing for killing bicyclist in hit-and-run

It took a huge cash reward, a tip to Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound from a FOX 13 viewer and more than a year and a half of investigation by Seattle Police detectives to bring a deadly hit-and-run driver to justice.

Julian Hamilton recently pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide for killing 63-year-old Mike Colmant on April 11, 2021. Hamilton was driving his car after spending the day drinking in a park when he crossed the center line and hit Colmant, who was riding his bicycle northbound on Seward Park Avenue.

The 25-year-old then sped away without stopping or calling 911. After the hit-and-run, Hamilton drove his car to Tacoma and hid the vehicle.

It took a year and a half and a detailed tip from a viewer before detectives had enough evidence to arrest him.

‘I’m sorry for my actions that day and the delay in justice. I’m sorry I didn’t have the courage to come forward sooner. I was afraid of the consequences but I know this is the right thing to do," said Hamilton.

The Spotlight's cameras were in King County court for his tearful apology and the reaction from Colmant's family, who says justice has not been served. Hamilton, who had no criminal history, was sentenced to 20 months in prison. The statewide range set by state lawmakers is 15-20 months. Part of Hamilton's 20-month sentence is already over because the judge is allowing credit for time already served.

"Nobody is saying that Mr. Hamilton is an evil person or a bad person, but his driving on this afternoon was selfish and irresponsible and it resulted in the death of a man. I don’t how you carry that on your shoulders. Hopefully, this will be the worst thing that ever happened to him. It is the worst thing that ever happened to the Colmant family," said the prosecutor.

Colmant was an avid runner and bicyclist who had competed in his first Triathlon in 1992, as well as in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Colmant's wife and the step-daughter he raised were in the courtroom for the sentencing.

"So, I wonder, was this a case of cat and mouse that got out of hand or did you just take this guy out that you saw riding on his bike? Because a decent human being with a conscience would have stopped, but no, you took off and ditched your car so good that the detective couldn’t find it. If it wasn’t for King County offering a $50,000 reward and the witness coming forward, which I will be forever grateful, who knows where we would be today. But here we are, two years, two months and 12 days later and your sorry a** is going to jail. I hope every day that you are in jail is a painful experience and you keep reliving the day that you killed my husband, Michael David Colmant," said his wife, Dorie Colmant, in a letter read into the record by a victim's advocate.

The court also heard from Sydney Colmant: "I don’t know what justice for my dad looks like. Do I feel that two years in prison is enough? No. Is life in prison enough? No. There really is no sentence that will give him the justice he deserved and no sentence handed down will bring him back. Life is truly unfair when it comes to the justice system and the wrongful death of a loved one."

Colmant served as the deputy director at King County International Airport at Boeing Field, where he had worked since 1999. His colleagues praised him as a dedicated and supportive mentor.

"He was, first of all, a talented public servant and second of all, a super nice guy," said Rod Dembowski, a King County Councilmember.

As part of his sentence, Hamilton was ordered to pay $6,178 in restitution. He told the court the birth of his child has changed him and he is deeply apologetic.

"I will carry this tragedy for the rest of my life. My time in prison will be spent on bettering myself and pray to our creator for forgiveness. I hope that one day you can forgive me and if that day never comes, I understand that too," said Hamilton.