7onScene: Mistrial declared in case against Smith County Commissioner JoAnn Hampton

7onScene: Mistrial declared in case against Smith County Commissioner JoAnn Hampton
Joann Hampton (Source: Smith County Judicial records)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)
(Source: KLTV News Staff)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A mistrial has been declared by a visiting judge today in the case against a Smith County Commissioner accused of elderly abuse.

The motion was made by the defense in a Smith County courtroom. Since the prosecution and defense reached an agreement, the case was declared as a mistrial. Hampton was ordered to participate in a 90-day diversion program.

Today marked day 2 of the trial for JoAnn Hampton.


Hampton pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, and attorneys for the state began opening arguments.

Hampton, 60, of Tyler was arrested and charged in April of 2017 after she allegedly assaulted an elderly woman inside a pastor's office at a church.

On April 2, the Smith County Sheriff's Office received a tip that a possible assault had occurred at the Spring Creek Baptist Church, on County Road 46 in Smith County.

The victim alleged that she had been inside the Pastor's office of the 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 into a chair and injure her wrist.

The affidavit details an argument that led up to the incident, where Hampton allegedly pushed the woman, "causing her to strike a chair and fall. This caused a small abrasion."

According to the document, in incident occurred April 2 at Spring Creek Baptist Church in Tyler.

The alleged victim, who is 72 years old, told officials the argument began when she was talking with the pastor in an office and Hampton entered the room. She alleged that Hampton "was pointing her finger in her face, telling her to 'talk to her' if she had a problem, and not to go to the pastor."

She then alleged that Hampton pushed her.

The pastor of the church told a deputy that "the two have had 'drama' for years," the affidavit states.

The following day, on April 3, an investigator spoke with the alleged victim who said she and Hampton spoke about decorating the sacrament table prior to the Sunday service at their church.

She also detailed the incident to the investigator, which was then reported in the affidavit:

"She said Mrs. Hampton was 'short' with her. She said she went to (the pastor's) office and was talking with him with the door closed. (The woman) said 'all of a sudden,' Mrs. Hampton burst into the office like a 'raging bull' and was screaming at her. She said Mrs. Hampton was saying that if she ... had something to say, she needed to say it to her face. She said Mrs. Hampton used the palms of both her hands to push her in the shoulder area, causing her to fall backwards. She said she tried catching herself in a chair as she was falling, causing her to scrape her right forearm on the chair."

The alleged victim said she did not stay for service, went home, called the police and went to a hospital. She told police the incident left her with a sprained wrist.

When investigators contacted Hampton about the case, she said she "didn't know what she could tell me (the investigator" and that she didn't push the woman but they had a conversation. According to the affidavit, she told police there was no physical contact. She also told them the pastor had witnessed the incident.

The investigator spoke with the pastor of the church, who confirmed the argument was over "dressing" the communion table and said "it was his understanding that it had been (the alleged victim's) day to 'dress' it" but she was late and it had already been done when she arrived.

The pastor told a law enforcement officer that the woman came into his office to speak to him prior to services and that Hampton "barged" into the office and told her to "come to her" to resolve issues.

"He said the ladies were yelling at one another, stepping closer, until they were 'face to face.' (The pastor) said at that point, Mrs. Hampton pushed (the alleged victim) out of her 'space,' causing (her) to stumble backwards, falling down into/on a chair. He said Mrs. Hampton pushed her 'hard,' causing her to fall back 1 to 2 feet," the affidavit states.

The woman's medical records were obtained by officials on April 17 and officials learned she was diagnosed with a wrist sprain, hand sprain and anxiety attack.

Related story: Smith County Commissioner charged with Injury to an Elderly Person

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.

During the first day of the trial, an audio recording was played of a conversation between Hampton and detective working the case, during which Hampton can be heard saying "I didn't push this woman, we had a conversation."

The Special Prosecutor assigned to the felony Injury to an Elderly Person case against  Hampton says a plea deal may be in the works on the matter.

Editor's Note: A previous story said that a Smith County judge granted the mistrial. A visiting judge from Cherokee County made the decision.

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