SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The Special Prosecutor assigned to the felony Injury to an Elderly Person case against Smith County Commissioner Joann Hampton says a plea deal may be in the works on the matter.
In May, an order from the 241st District Court of Smith County released the Smith County District Attorney's office, and assigned the Van Zandt County District Attorney's Office as a Special Prosecutor in the case. Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham had no comment when he was asked why his office sought recusal in the case.
When asked by KLTV news, Van Zandt County District Attorney Chris Martin stated he is handling the case himself.
"Mrs. Hampton is represented by Clifton Roberson. He and I have been communicating regarding the allegations in this case. In addition, I have reviewed the law enforcement reports, information provided by Mr. Roberson, and have met with the alleged victim, and Pastor Rodney Hood of Spring Creek Baptist Church regarding the events of the incident. At this point, I am engaged in potential plea bargaining with Mr. Roberson and Mrs. Hampton. If our negotiations fail, the case will be scheduled for presentation to the Smith County Grand Jury before the end of summer," Martin stated.
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 may have been the result of an alleged argument over church decorations, according to a sheriff investigator's report.
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.
We have reached out to Hampton's attorney, Clifton Roberson, but have not yet heard back from him.