BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office District Attorney (Bessemer) Lynneice Washington joined the CBS 42 Morning News to explain the latest on the Paighton Houston case and provide clarity to the charges against identified suspect Fredrick Hampton.
What is Fredrick Hampton’s connection to Paighton Houston?
District Attorney Washington explains that based on the information given to the office, Hampton and Houston were at the Tin Roof together.
Washington said, “We have different stories as to what took place at the point of her becoming missing, but in terms of other connections prior to that we don’t have the information.”
How did they come to the conclusion that Houston left the Tin Roof willingly?
Washington states that information came from witnesses.
“Whenever a crime occurs, or there is a missing person, you do just like you do in any other case, you start talking to witnesses. For those people that were there at Tin Roof, more specifically in this case the people that [Paighton] went therewith, you just speak with those people that are present and that can give you insight as to what was going on.”
In that Lakeview area, there was no video to support the theory that Houston left willingly with the suspects.
“Right now we have witnesses that saw her leave with someone and we know that she went with someone,” Washington says.
Houston’s family has posted frequently on social media since her daughter’s disappearance, discovery and funeral. Washington reassures the public that the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is working to solve the case.
“There’s a collaboration. The case started in the Birmingham division from where Tin Roof was, and from that point, her body was found in the Bessmer cut off division. So now you have Birmingham PD working, you have Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office that are handling the case now, we have the Metropolitan Crime Center (MAX Center) that was a resource as well. We had both district attorneys out there at the time her body was exhumed from that shallow grave,” Washington explained.
Washington says that tips provided by the public are important.
“Those tips are what led those officers to a person of interest to speak with. Tips from Crime Stoppers was how [Houston’s] body was located,” Washington said.
Washington asks the public to continue sending tips to Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.
District Attorney Washington stayed behind for a Facebook live, providing more insight into the case. Due to technical difficulties, the Livestream was separated into two parts. You can watch part 1 and part 2 below.
In the Facebook live, Washington describes the significance in Hampton’s charge: abuse of corpse.
Washington said, “This is a class C felony basically with a range of punishment a year and a day to 10 years [in prison]. It’s dealing with the way a body was treated that would outrage the ordinary family sensibilities. He has been charged with abuse of a corpse, not felony murder, not murder, not manslaughter or anything like that. I think there has been a misconception that he has been charged with murder.”
The investigation is ongoing and Washington hopes that the sheriff’s office will receive more information.
“It’s still developing,” Washington says.
The sheriff’s office knows that Hampton has family ties to Brighton and that he is no longer in the area.
“We really don’t know where [Hampton] is now,” Washington says. “There have been some tips that have come through Crime Stoppers.”
What’s next in the investigation?
Washington says that they are continuing to talk to people. The sheriff’s office is still waiting on the report from the coroner’s office.
Washington says, “Her body had started decomposing so we lost a lot of evidence that we could have been able to get had she had been located earlier. Right now we are just waiting on that report to see what we can glean from her remains.”
Washington remarks that she “got to know Paighton” at her visitation. Washington watched Houston’s memorial video and viewed her pictures.
“She has a very strong and very loving family. The family now has just a partial bit of closure because now they have [Houston’s] remains. Now they still have to go through that emotional roller coaster in the court system.” Washington says.
Washington states with confidence that Fredrick Hampton will be apprehended.
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