Murder conviction of ETX man upheld by appellate court - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Murder conviction of ETX man upheld by appellate court

James Arlie Hampton. Photo Source: Henderson County District Attorney's Office. James Arlie Hampton. Photo Source: Henderson County District Attorney's Office.

Released by the Henderson County District Attorney's Office:

ATHENS, TX (KLTV) - The Twelfth Court of Appeals in Tyler this week affirmed James Arlie Hampton's murder conviction from December of 2010. Hampton was convicted and sentenced to life in prison by a Henderson County Jury for the murder of Corey David who had been a guest in Hampton's home.  David had been shot twice by a high powered rifle. His body was found, heavily charred, in a burn pit located on the same property of Hampton's residence just north of Athens

District Attorney Scott McKee and Assistant District Attorney Nancy Rumor prosecuted the nearly two-week long case in Carter Tarrance's 392nd Judicial District Court.  McKee and Rumar built the case by calling numerous witnesses who testified that Hampton and Corey were in the middle of a love triangle with Hampton's Wife, Mandy Hampton.  The prosecution team also relied heavily on the testimony of Investigator (now Captain) Bryan Tower of the Henderson County Sheriff's Office who was the lead investigator in the murder. 

Tower testified that he discovered the body on a hunch that something wasn't right while inquiring into a missing person report of David in early January 2009.  Tower had just visited the residence, which according to witnesses was the last place David was seen alive, and spoke with Hampton.  Tower testified that he knew things weren't adding up after his conversation with Hampton and on a pure hunch walked to a large burn pile located in a pasture on the northern end of the property.  As Tower looked into the burn pile he saw what later turned out to be the charred remains of David. 

A subsequent search of the property revealed a Ford pickup truck with David's blood inside and an additional crime scene with items of clothing that also turned up David's blood. 

Hampton's Appellate attorney argued to the 12th Court of Appeals that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction and that all the evidence was circumstantial. 

Assistant District Attorney Justin Weiner handled the appeal for the State.   In the opinion affirming the conviction the Court of Criminal Appeals stated: "…[T]he state presented a strong case that the Appellant murdered David on the morning of January 4, after David exited Hampton's bedroom through a window."

District Attorney Scott McKee indicated that he was pleased with the opinion of the Court of Appeals.  "Investigator Tower did an outstanding job on this investigation."  Said McKee.  "I have no doubt that had Tower not acted on his instincts that cold day in January 2010, the body of Corey David would have never been found.  His body was so charred and unrecognizable; there would have been nothing left had Hampton had another day of burning." 

Hampton can still petition the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to review the decision.

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