BREAKING NEWS

DAY 1: Smith County Commissioner JoAnn Hampton stands trial for elder abuse

TYLER, Texas (KETK) - The trial for Smith County Commissioner JoAnn Hampton  began Tuesday after she was arrested in 2017 and charged with injury to an elderly person.

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, at approximately 12:30 p.m., the Smith County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding an assault at the Spring Creek Baptist Church, located in the 13000 block of County Road 46.

Viola Douglas, 73, says JoAnn Hampton, 60, came into the office of the pastor where she was having a meeting with him and began shouting at her. She also says Hampton pushed her down causing her to fall against a chair and sprain her wrist. She says she also had scratches from the incident. The victim was treated and released from a local hospital.

A follow-up investigation concluded probable cause existed to charge Hampton with injury to an elderly individual, which is a state jail felony.

On Friday, April 21, 2017, an arrest warrant was issued charging Hampton with the offense. Her bond was set at $10,000.

In court, Hampton plead not guilty to the charges. 

Both the prosecutor and the defense stated their case to the jury. The prosecutor said a crime is a crime and needs to be treated as such. The defense argued this is a mountain being made out of a mole hill. 

Hampton and Douglas have been going to the same church for at least 15 years. Douglas said the two previously had minor run-ins. 

Douglas even stated she quit multiple church groups to avoid interactions with Hampton. 

However, the defense argued Douglas has a personal vendetta against Hampton, even going as far as to say Douglas claimed Hampton's mugshot resembled that of pop icon, Rick James.

The trial will continue Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. 


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