SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An order from the 241st District Court of Smith County released one District Attorney's office, and then assigned a new one, in the case of a County Commissioner charged with the felony of Injuring an Elderly Person.
Joann Hampton, 60, of Tyler, surrendered to the Smith County Jail on April 24, 2017. She was booked and posted $10,000 bond on the same day. The charge was the result of an alleged argument over church decorations.
The victim alleged that she had been inside the pastor's office of the Spring Creek Baptist Church with the door closed, discussing an issue with the pastor. That's when she says Hampton entered the office and started shouting at her. The victim went on to say that Hampton pushed her down, causing her to fall against a chair and injure her wrist. She was taken to the hospital, and was treated and released the same day.
On May 19, the Smith County District Attorney's Office made a motion to recuse itself from prosecuting the case. Presiding Judge Jack Skeen, Jr. granted the request and appointed the Van Zandt County District Attorney's office as the Criminal District Attorney Pro Tem in the case.
The April 2 incident involving Hampton, who serves as Smith County Commissioner for Precinct 4, appeared to have stemmed from a conflict over church decorations at Spring Creek Baptist Church, which is on County Road 46 in Smith County.
KLTV News sought comment on what led Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham to seek recusal in the case. His office declined to comment.
Related: Smith County Commissioner charged with Injury to an Elderly Person