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James Henry HAMPTON

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Robberies
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: August 3/September 16, 1992
Date of arrest: December 19, 1992
Date of birth: March 5, 1938
Victims profile: Frances Keaton, 58 / Christine Schurman, 48
Method of murder: Beating with a hammer / Shooting
Location: Missouri/New Jersey, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Missouri on March 22, 2000
 
 
 
 
 
 

Summary:

On 8-3-92 at around 1:15 a.m. James Hampton, armed with a sawed off shotgun, broke into the residence of Ms. Frances Keaton in Warrenton, Missouri.

He demanded $30,000 from Ms. Keaton and her fiance Mr. Allen Mulholland because he believed that Ms. Keaton had the money in a checking account for a real estate transaction.

Hampton learned of the transaction through a real estate agent that he had been staying with after his release from a federal prison in Illinois.

Hampton told the couple that he would take one of them hostage to ensure that he would get the money. Hampton then told the couple that he would kidnap Ms. Keaton and if Mr. Mulholland tried to contact the police he would kill Ms. Keaton.

Hampton told the couple that he had a police scanner and would know if the police were looking for him. Hampton left Mr. Mulholland tied up in the house.

At some point during their drive Hampton learned from his police scanner that the authorities were searching for Ms. Keaton.

According to his trial testimony, Hampton decided to kill Ms. Keaton after learning that the police were looking for him. Hampton drove Ms. Keaton to the farm of the real estate agent from whom he had learned about Ms. Keaton.

Hampton blindfolded Ms. Keaton and took her into a wooded area about one-half mile from the real estate agent's farm. He then killed Ms. Keaton by repeatedly striking her in the head with a hammer. He then buried her and burned all of her belongings.

The next morning Hampton returned to retrieve his car, but found that it had already been impounded by the police.

Hampton fled the state and was apprehended in New Jersey on Dec. 19, 1992, one day after he was featured on the television show Americaís Most Wanted. He has been arrested and convicted of another murder. As he was about to be placed into custody Mr. Hampton shot himself in the head.

 
 

Capital Punishment in Missouri from Missouri.net

Case Facts:

On 8-3-92 at around 1:15 a.m. James Hampton, armed with a sawed off shotgun, broke into the residence of Ms. Frances Keaton in Warrenton, Missouri.

He demanded $30,000 from Ms. Keaton and her fiance Mr. Allen Mulholland because he believed that Ms. Keaton had the money in a checking account for a real estate transaction.

Hampton learned of the transaction through a real estate agent that he had been staying with after his release from a federal prison in Illinois. Hampton told the couple that he would take one of them hostage to ensure that he would get the money.

Hampton tied the couple up. Ms. Keaton stated that although she did not have the money she thought she might be able to raise $10,000 through her minister. Hampton released Ms. Keaton to get dressed. Ms. Keaton made an attempt to escape, but Hampton restrained her and threatened to kill her if she resisted again.

Hampton then told the couple that he would kidnap Ms. Keaton and if Mr. Mulholland tried to contact the police he would kill Ms. Keaton. Hampton told the couple that he had a police scanner and would know if the police were looking for him and Ms. Keaton. Hampton left Mr. Mulholland tied up in the house.

Hampton and Ms. Keaton then got into her car and headed toward Callaway County, Missouri. Ms. Keaton called her minister via her cellular telephone but he told her he did not have the money. The minister called Ms. Keaton's son to alert him of his mother's predicament. The son then called his mother on her cellular telephone around 1:30 a.m. That was the last contact anyone had with Ms. Keaton.

At some point during their drive Hampton learned from his police scanner that the authorities were searching for Ms. Keaton.

According to his trial testimony, Hampton decided to kill Ms. Keaton after learining that the police were looking for him. Hampton drove Ms. Keaton to the farm of the real estate agent from whom he had learned about Ms. Keaton.

Hampton blindfolded Ms. Keaton and took her into a wooded area about one-half mile from the real estate agent's farm. He then killed Ms. Keaton by repeatedly striking her in the head with a hammer. He then buried her and burned all of her belongings.

The next morning Hampton returned to Warrenton to retrieve his car, but found that it had already been impounded by the police. Hampton fled the state and was later apprehended in New Jersey where he had been arrested and convicted of another murder. As he was about to be placed into custody Mr. Hampton shot himself in the head.

James Henry Hampton was born on 3-5-38 in Louisville, Kentucky.

PRIOR CRIMINAL RECORD

- On 5-17-55 Hampton was arrested in Jefferson County, Kentucky for Attempted Operating a Motor Vehicle with out the Owner's Consent. He was sentenced to one year in the county jail. Execution of the sentence was suspended and he was placed on five years probation.

- On 2-7-57 Hampton was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky for two counts of Burglary of a Dwelling. He was sentenced to two years in the Kentucky State Penitentiary and was discharged on 10-21-58.

- On 12-2-60 Hampton was arrested in Frankfort, Kentucky for Armed Robbery and Operating a Motor Vehicle with out the Owner's Consent. He was sentenced to six years in the Kentucky State Penitentiary and was released on 12-2-65.

- On 3-10-66 Hampton was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky for two counts of Attempted Burglary. He was fined $200.

- On 4-9-66 Hampton was arrested in Clayton, Missouri for Burglary and Stealing. He was sentenced to three years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on each count to be served concurrently. He was discharged on 1-26-68.

- On 3-12-70 Hampton was arrested in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for Burglary and Stealing. He was sentenced to five years in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. He was discharged on 3-14-80.

- On 3-13-70 Hampton was arrested in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for Interstate Transportation of Counterfeit Securities. He was sentenced to ten years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was released to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections on 3-25-77.

- On 12-81 Hampton was arrested in Portland, Oregon for Distribution of Heroin and Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin. He was sentenced to ten years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was paroled on 10-4-85.

- On 1-11-86 Hampton was arrested in Portland Oregon for Assault Fourth Degree and Recklessly Endangerment. He was sentenced to five years in the Oregon Department of Corrections.

- On 12-19-92 Hampton was arrested in West Orange, New Jersey for Homicide. He was sentenced to a life sentence without parole.

- On 3-18-95 Hampton was returned to Fulton, Missouri where he was charged with Murder First Degree. Hampton was sentenced to death on September 16, 1996.

Legal Chronology

1992
08/03 - Frances Keaton is abducted from her home.
08/15 - Ms. Keaton's body is found on a farm in Callaway County, Missouri.
12/19 - James Hampton is arrested in West Orange, New Jersey for murder.

1996
07/29 - Hampton goes on trail for Murder 1st Degree in Circuit Court of Callaway County.
08/02 - He is found guilty by a jury and they recommend a sentence of death.
09/16 - Hampton is sentenced to death.

1997
12/23 - The Missouri Supreme Court affirms Hampton's conviction and sentence.

1998
04/27 - Hampton files a motion for post-conviction relief in Circuit court of Callaway County.

1999
01/26 - Circuit Court of Callaway County dismisses the motion for post-conviction relief.

2000
01/11 - The Missouri Supreme Court dismisses the appeal from the dismissal of the post-conviction relief motion.
02/23 - The Missouri Supreme Court sets March 22, 2000, as the date for Hampton's execution.

 
 

ProDeathPenalty.com

James Hampton was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1992 murder of Frances Keaton.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. on the evening of August 2, 1992, Hampton parked a green Pontiac Bonneville in the lot of Fellowship Baptist Church in Warrenton, Missouri.

Hampton told passersby that he was having car trouble, but declined offers of assistance, saying that he had a bicycle. Leaving a note on his windshield that read: "Car trouble. Gone for help. S.G. Gambosi,"

Hampton rode the bicycle about three miles to the neighborhood where Frances Keaton, a 58-year old hairdresser lived. Hampton knew, through his acquaintance with Frances Keaton's realtor-- that Frances and her fiancťe, Allen Mulholland, had access to a checking account containing at least $30,000.

Using a copy of Frances' house key provided to him by the realtor, Hampton entered her house dressed in dark clothing, wearing a stocking cap over his face, and carrying a sawed-off shotgun.

Some time after 10 p.m., Hampton awoke Frances and Allen Mulholland, who were asleep in their bedroom, and told them: "I've come here to rob you."

After binding their hands and feet, Hampton demanded $30,000 from them. They replied that they didn't have that much money, but Frances said she thought that she could get $10,000 from her pastor. Hampton untied her and allowed her to get dressed. When she attempted to escape, Hampton overpowered her, and eventually placed a coat hanger around her neck and threatened to kill her if she again resisted him.

Hampton told Allen Mulholland that he had a police scanner and that, if the police learned of the kidnapping, he would kill Frances. Hampton then took Frances outside to her car and drove her towards the realtor's farm in Callaway County.

While they were driving, at 1:15 a.m. on August 3, Hampton had Frances call her pastor on Allen Mulholland's cellular phone and ask him if he could provide her with $10,000 cash by nine o'clock that morning. The pastor called her back on the cellular phone, but all contact with Frances was lost at 2:24 a.m.

At some point during the drive, Hampton learned from his police scanner that law enforcement authorities had been alerted to the kidnapping.

According to his own testimony, Hampton had decided in advance to kill his hostage if police learned of the kidnapping before he received the ransom. Carrying through with his plan, Hampton bound and blindfolded Frances and took her to a wooded area one half mile from the realtor's farm. Once there, he killed Frances with several hammer blows to her head and then buried her body.

The morning after killing Frances, Hampton drove her car back to Warrenton, and attempted to retrieve the green Pontiac he had left at the Fellowship Baptist Church. He abandoned his attempt when he saw that police were keeping the car under surveillance.

Late that night, after police had impounded the car, he was apprehended attempting to enter the locked impound lot, but gave an alias and was released.

On Sept. 16, 1992, he killed Christine Schurman, 48, of Wantage Township, whose body was found by her husband, Dr. Alan Schurman. She died of a single bullet wound to the head, also after a failed kidnapping attempt.

Hampton was finally captured on Dec. 19, 1992, one day after he was featured on the television show "America's Most Wanted." A New Jersey pastor recognized Hampton from the television program and alerted police.

As he was about to be taken into custody, Hampton shot himself in the head, injuring his brain's frontal lobes. Hampton has dropped his appeals, stating that he does not want to live his life out in prison or wait 15 years for his execution to take place.

 
 

Murderer Forgoes His Last Chance for Some Redemption

By Bill McClellan - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

March 24, 2000

Killer without a conscience - Jim Hampton got his wish and was executed early Wednesday morning. His final words were, "Take the phone off the hook."

Apparently, he wanted to make sure there would be no last-second phone call from the governor. He need not have worried. Despite the efforts of death penalty opponents who argued that Hampton was incompetent to decide his own fate -- I guess they had to argue something -- there was no way the governor was going to spare Hampton's life.

He had been given the death penalty for the 1992 murder of Frances Keaton, a 58-year-old beautician who worked in Florissant and lived in Warrenton. Her two children, both adults, attended the execution. "He got off easy," said LaVon Bowlin, Keaton's daughter. "It was like he just went to sleep." Keaton's death had not been so peaceful.

Hampton beat her to death with a hammer. It was part of a kidnapping for ransom plan that went bad. Also in attendance at the execution was a daughter of Christine Schurman, a New Jersey woman who was murdered by Hampton. He shot her after another botched kidnapping attempt.

I visited Hampton a few days before his execution, and I asked if he felt any remorse for either of the murders. He seemed to think the question was off-base. He said he had not intended to kill anybody. Instead, he had decided that if his plans went bad, the people would have to die. The plans went bad. The people had to die. Why would he feel remorse? I left the interview thinking that Hampton was a bad man. Way to go, Dr. Freud, you might be saying to yourself. How astute. What an unlikely observation. For me, though, it was unlikely. I've talked to a lot of guys in prison, and I almost always have some sympathy for them. You don't have to be a bad person to do a bad thing. That's the way I look at it.

But Hampton struck me as just plain bad. I asked him if he had committed any murders other than the two for which he had been convicted. Yes, he said. There had been six others during his long career as a criminal. Hampton, you may remember, was 62 years old. I asked about these other murders. Were they fellow criminals? Killed when drug deals went bad, or something along those lines? Or were they like the two women we know about -- innocent citizens? More like that, said Hampton.

They were people who maybe saw something they shouldn't have seen, or heard something they shouldn't have heard. For whatever reason, I thought they were a threat to my personal freedom, he said. More than that he wouldn't say. With a fellow like Hampton, it's impossible to know what to believe. But still, he was a career criminal, a drifter, an amoral man. Other murders were possible, maybe even likely.

I talked to Hampton one last time on the phone. You've got a chance to do something good, something right, at the very end of your life, I said. Write me a letter about the other six murders. Put in enough details so we'll know you did them. Mail it to me, and I'll get it after your execution. Why would I do that? asked Hampton. Because there's a chance that somebody is doing time for a murder you committed, I said.

That's very possible, Hampton said. But I'm not going to do it. If I were to write a letter, the state could get ahold of it before I'm killed. If I admit to some other murders, those jurisdictions will want to talk to me, and my execution could be put on hold. I don't want to take that chance, he concluded. And so he died -- went to sleep, as LaVon Bowling described it -- without taking advantage of an opportunity to do, at long last, a good thing.

 
 

Execution in Missouri

2-Time Killer Spent Just 4 Years on Death Row

ABCNews.com

Potosi, Missouri, March 22

James Henry Hampton, a two-time killer who has spent most of his life in prison, was executed early this morning after serving only four years on death row.

Hampton, 62, was the first Missouri inmate put to death by injection this year at the state prison in Potosi, and the 42nd since the death penalty was reinstated in 1989.

Hampton maintained since his 1996 conviction that he wanted to be executed rather than grow old in prison. He refused to make court appeals and did not seek clemency from Gov. Mel Carnahan. However, a group of death penalty opponents, led by the Missouri Catholic Conference, sought clemency for him. Carnahan denied their request about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday. ďThe governor saw no reason to commute the sentence,Ē spokesman Jerry Nachtigal said.

Last Meal: Doughnuts

Corrections department spokesman Tim Kniest said Hampton chose a dozen glazed doughnuts and two pints of milk for his last meal.

Hampton admitted beating Frances Keaton to death with a hammer in 1992 after abducting her from her home in Warrenton. He then fled to New Jersey, where he killed another woman during another failed kidnapping attempt.

As police moved in on Hampton in New Jersey, he stuck a gun beneath his chin and shot himself. The bullet exited through the front of Hamptonís brain. At his trial in 1996, neurologist Jonathan Pincus of Georgetown University testified that the brain wound affected Hamptonís judgment.

Death penalty opponents blamed impaired judgment for Hamptonís desire to die. ďIs it morally irresponsible for the state to execute someone when there is reasonable doubt that he can make good judgments,Ē said Rita Linhardt of the Missouri Catholic Conference. Hampton refused interview requests Tuesday by The Associated Press.

A Life of Crime

Hampton grew up one of 11 children in a poor family in the Louisville, Ky., area. He went to reform school at age 11 and spent his adult life in and out of prisons.

Before his murder sentences, he served time in 25 different prisons for crimes ranging from burglary to assault to drug trafficking.

During one stint in the federal prison in Marion, Ill., in the early 1970s, he befriended Gary Gilmore. Gilmore in 1976 would become the first American to be executed after a decade-long ban on the death penalty. Linhardt said the meeting had a strong effect on Hampton. ďItís like heís almost wanting to be like Gilmore,Ē Linhardt said.

Court records showed that Hampton parked his car at the parking lot of a Warrenton church on Aug. 2, 1992, then rode a bicycle the three miles to Keatonís home. An acquaintance, a realtor who had worked with Keaton, told Hampton that Keaton had $30,000 in the bank.

The realtor also gave Hampton a key to the home. Hampton entered with a sawed-off shotgun and demanded money from Keaton, a 58-year-old hairdresser, and her fiance, Allen Mulholland. He tied up Mulholland and abducted Keaton, taking her car and heading west on Interstate 70.

Death by Hammer

While driving, Hampton learned from a police scanner that law enforcement authorities had been alerted to the kidnapping.

Hampton testified at his trial that he had decided in advance to kill his hostage if police learned of the kidnapping before he received his ransom. Hampton bound and blindfolded Keaton and took her to a wooded area of Callaway County.

Once there, he killed her with several hammer blows to the head and then buried her body. Hampton drove back to Warrenton and attempted to retrieve his car. When he saw that police were keeping it under surveillance, he fled to New Jersey.

On Sept. 16, 1992, he killed Christine Schurman, 48, of Wantage Township, whose body was found by her husband, Dr. Alan Schurman. She died of a single bullet wound to the head, also after a failed kidnapping attempt.

Hampton was finally captured on Dec. 19, 1992, one day after he was featured on the television show Americaís Most Wanted. A New Jersey pastor recognized Hampton from the television program and alerted police.

 
 

Missouri Executes Killer Who Refused Appeals

APBNews.com

March 22, 2000

POTOSI, Mo. (AP) -- A man convicted of killing two women was executed by injection early today after refusing for years to appeal his case amid claims that a gunshot wound had affected his judgment.

James H. Hampton, 62, did not seek clemency from Gov. Mel Carnahan. As the first drug was administered, Hampton raised his head, looked around and coughed a few times. His last words: "Take the phone off the hook."

Hampton admitted beating Frances Keaton, 58, to death with a hammer in 1992 after abducting her from her home in Warrenton.

He then fled to New Jersey, where he killed another woman, Christine Schurman, 48, during a kidnapping attempt.

As police moved in on Hampton, he stuck a gun beneath his chin and shot himself. The bullet exited through the front of Hampton's brain.

At his trial in 1996, a neurologist testified that the brain wound affected Hampton's judgment. Death penalty opponents blamed impaired judgment for Hampton's desire to die. Hampton went to reform school at age 11 and spent his adult life in and out of prisons.

Before his murder sentences, he served time in 25 different prisons for crimes ranging from burglary to assault to drug trafficking.

 
 

Supreme Court of Missouri

Case Number 79354

State of Missouri, Respondent
v.
James Henry Hampton, Appellant

23/12/1997

Circuit Court of Callaway County, Hon. Frank Conley

Ronnie L. White, Judge

Opinion

James Henry Hampton appeals from his conviction for the first degree murder of Frances Keaton and the death sentence imposed for that crime.(FN1) We affirm.

Reviewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict,(FN2) the following facts were established at trial.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. on the evening of August 2, 1992, Mr. Hampton parked a green Pontiac Bonneville in the lot of Fellowship Baptist Church in Warrenton. Mr. Hampton told passersby that he was having car trouble, but declined offers of assistance, saying that he had a bicycle. Leaving a note on his windshield that read: "Car trouble. Gone for help. S.G. Gambosi," Mr. Hampton rode the bicycle about three miles to the neighborhood where Frances Keaton lived.

Mr. Hampton knew, through his acquaintance with Patricia Supinski--Ms. Keatonís realtor--that Ms. Keaton and her fiancee, Allen Mulholland, had access to a checking account containing at least $30,000. Using a copy of Ms. Keatonís house key provided to him by Ms. Supinski, Mr. Hampton entered Ms. Keatonís house dressed in dark clothing, wearing a stocking cap over his face, and carrying a sawed-off shotgun.

Some time after 10 p.m., Mr. Hampton awoke Ms. Keaton and Mr. Mulholland, who were asleep in their bedroom, and told them: "Iíve come here to rob you." After binding Mr. Mulhollandís and Ms. Keatonís hands and feet, Mr. Hampton demanded $30,000 from them. They replied that they didnít have that much money, but Ms. Keaton said she thought that she could get $10,000 from her pastor.

Mr. Hampton untied her and allowed her to get dressed. When she attempted to escape, Mr. Hampton overpowered her, and eventually placed a coathanger around her neck and threatened to kill her if she again resisted him. Mr. Hampton told Mr. Mulholland that he had a police scanner and that, if the police learned of the kidnapping, he would kill Ms. Keaton. Mr. Hampton then took Ms. Keaton outside to her car and drove her towards the Supinski farm in Callaway County.

While they were driving, at 1:15 a.m. on August 3, Mr. Hampton had Ms. Keaton call her pastor on Mr. Mulhollandís cellular phone and ask him if he could provide her with $10,000 cash by nine oíclock that morning. The pastor was called her back on the cellular phone, but all contact with Ms. Keaton was lost at 2:24 a.m.

At some point during the drive, Mr. Hampton learned from his police scanner that law enforcement authorities had been alerted to the kidnapping. According to his own testimony, Mr. Hampton had decided in advance to kill his hostage if police learned of the kidnapping before he received the ransom. Carrying through with his plan, Mr. Hampton bound and blindfolded Ms. Keaton and took her to a wooded area one half mile from the Supinski farm. Once there, he killed Ms. Keaton with several hammer blows to her head and then buried her body.

The morning after killing Ms. Keaton, Mr. Hampton drove her car back to Warrenton, and attempted to retrieve the green Pontiac he had left at the Fellowship Baptist Church. He abandoned his attempt when he saw that police were keeping the car under surveillance. Late that night, after police had impounded the car, he was apprehended attempting to enter the locked impound lot, but gave an alias and was released. After that, Mr. Hampton fled the State and was eventually apprehended in New Jersey, where he had committed another murder. As he was about to be taken into custody, Mr. Hampton shot himself in the head.

Right to Self-Representation

Mr. Hampton contends that he was denied his right to represent himself at trial. The Sixth Amendmentís guarantee of assistance of counsel implies a correlative right to dispense with such assistance.(FN3) A criminal defendant who makes a timely, informed, voluntary and unequivocal waiver of the right to counsel may not be tried with counsel forced upon him by the State.(FN4) The determinative question, then, is whether Mr. Hampton made such a waiver.

On September 18, 1995, ten months before trial started, Mr. Hampton filed a "Motion/Demand/Notice for Self-Representation" wherein he asked the court to enter an order "permitting self-representation . . . as explained . . . in Faretta . . . ." At that time, he also filed an "Entry of Appearance," advising "all persons connected [with the case] that he is now the attorney of record . . ."

After hearing Mr. Hampton argue his motion, the trial court suggested that it delay ruling on the motion, but when pressed by Mr. Hampton, overruled it. On October 13, Mr. Hampton again sought to have the motion for self-representation taken up, but the court ruled that it would follow its original ruling on the issue.

At that point, Mr. Hampton filed a second entry of appearance and motion for self-representation, and then sought a writ of prohibition in the court of appeals, seeking to prohibit further proceedings until he was allowed to represent himself. When that petition was denied, Mr. Hampton sought similar relief in this Court, which was also denied in March of 1996. The trial court again heard argument from Mr. Hampton on July 5, and, on July 16, noted that it was continuing to rule against Mr. Hamptonís request.

The relevant considerations in evaluating a motion for self-representation were concisely set forth by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in the recent case Hamilton v. Groose:

A criminal defendantís motion to represent himself involves two mutually exclusive constitutional rights: the right to be represented by an attorney, and the right not to be represented by an attorney. A court must Ďindulge in every reasonable presumption against [a defendantís] waiverí of his right to counsel, Brewer v. Williams, 430 U.S. 387, 404, 97 S.Ct. 1232, 1242, 51 L.Ed.2d 424 (1977), and require the defendant to make a knowing, voluntary, and unequivocal request before concluding that he has waived his right to counsel and invoked his right to represent himself.(FN5)

Recognizing that a defendant who is allowed to proceed pro se may argue on appeal that the right to counsel was improperly denied, the court emphasizes that ambiguous requests for self-representation are not sufficient: "The probability that a defendant will appeal either decision of the trial judge underscores the importance of requiring a defendant who wishes to waive his right to counsel to do so explicitly and unequivocally."(FN6) What Faretta guarantees is the right to forgo the assistance of counsel in defending oneself, not the right to insist on self-representation in addition to representation by counsel: "Faretta does not require a trial judge to permit Ďhybridí representation . . . ."(FN7) "Because there is no constitutional right for a defendant to act as co-counsel, the refusal [to grant a defendantís motion for self-representation] does not violate the dictates of Farretta."(FN8)

In his numerous filings and arguments on this issue, Mr. Hampton never suggested that by asking to act as his own lawyer, he intended to waive his right to be represented by counsel. Mr. Hampton indicated, in arguing his motion to the trial court, that it was intended to prevent his attorneys from making "certain strategic decisions" in his case that he disagreed with. He argued that attorneys "are to advise and represent, not to replace or second-guess the defendant . . . . [I]f I am the attorney of record, then I will be able to make that decision. I donít intend to conduct the voir dire."

Mr. Hampton also reported that he did not intend to conduct the cross-examination of "many, if any of the witnesses." The tenor of Mr. Hamptonís argument is accurately reflected by the trial courtís characterization: "At this point in time youíre telling me that you want [defense counsel] to represent you, you want them to do the voir dire, you want them to cross-examine witnesses. But you want to have the final say-so."

In arguing that his conduct amounted to unequivocal waiver of the right to counsel, Mr. Hampton relies exclusively on United States v. Arlt, where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a conviction because the defendantís right to represent himself was violated.(FN9) That case is factually distinguishable from the present matter. In Arlt, the defendant expressed the desire to represent himself before counsel had been appointed, and persisted in that position even when the trial court sought to dissuade him from it by explaining the disadvantages of forgoing the assistance of counsel.(FN10) Here, Mr. Hampton never expressed the desire to completely forgo the assistance of counsel and, without being prompted by the court, expressed the desire that his lawyers conduct crucial aspects of the case.

The factual situation here is much more similar to another Ninth Circuit case: United States v. Kienenberger.(FN11) In that case, the defendant made numerous requests to be appointed "counsel of record," but also requested that the court appoint advisory counsel to assist him on procedural matters.(FN12) The court affirmed the conviction, holding that defendant "never relinquished his right to be represented by counsel at trial. His requests to represent himself were not unequivocal."(FN13) As the Arlt court held: "A defendant must make an explicit choice between exercising the right to counsel and the right to self-representation . . . ."(FN14)

In this case, Mr. Hampton sought to have the best of both worlds. While the trial court attempted to indulge Mr. Hamptonís requests to be heard along with his attorney, it did not err in refusing to make him "attorney of record," since that request did not amount to an unequivocal waiver of the right to counselís assistance.

Waiver of Right to Remain Silent

Mr. Hampton argues that his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination was violated because the trial court did not make a finding on the record that he had waived the right "knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently" before he took the stand and confessed to murdering Ms. Keaton. In support of this contention, Mr. Hampton cites two cases, Boykin v. Alabama,(FN15) and Rolfes v. State,(FN16) which hold that a trial court must advise a defendant on the record of his right to remain silent before accepting his guilty plea.

These cases are plainly inapplicable here since before allowing Mr. Hampton to take the stand the court advised him of his right not to testify, that the court would instruct the jury that it could not infer guilt from his failure to testify, that by testifying he was subjecting himself to cross-examination, and that by testifying he was enabling the prosecution to present evidence of his prior criminal record. Mr. Hampton testified that he understood each of these admonishments, but was nevertheless taking the stand against his attorneysí advice.

While Mr. Hampton now points to some remarks made to the court-appointed psychiatrist who examined him for competency that, viewed in a very stilted manner, arguably suggest Mr. Hampton thought he had to put on evidence in order to prove his innocence, he does not actually allege that the waiver was not made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. Instead, he asserts that the failure of the trial court to make that specific finding on the record was erroneous. Because this claim was not made to the trial court, giving it the opportunity to make the finding, we review it for plain error only.(FN17)

Certainly no miscarriage of justice occurred because the trial court did not write the words "knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently" in the docket sheet. And even if we read Mr. Hamptonís argument much more broadly than he has actually made it, the record completely contradicts the idea that Mr. Hampton was not making an informed decision in waiving his right to remain silent. Mr. Hampton specifically and emphatically affirmed that he was aware of the rights he was waiving. Justice is not offended by a man taking the witness stand and accepting responsibility for the terrible acts that he has committed.

Competency to Stand Trial

As a result of Mr. Hamptonís self-inflicted gunshot wound, he suffered damage to both the right and left frontal lobes of his brain. Accordingly, he argues that he was not competent to stand trial. "No person who as a result of a mental disease or defect lacks capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense shall be tried, convicted or sentenced for the commission of an offense so long as the incapacity endures."(FN18) Upon defense counselís motion, two experts examined Mr. Hampton.

The defenseís expert neurologist, Dr. Pincus, testified that, as result of his examination, he concluded that Mr. Hamptonís frontal lobe injury severely impaired his judgment, causing him paranoia that impaired his ability to assist in his defense. He based this conclusion on physical tests and on his interview with Mr. Hampton where he exhibited that he did not trust his defense counsel or Dr. Pincus.

Dr. Parwatikar, a State forensic psychiatrist, examined Mr. Hampton, filed a report and testified before the court. Dr. Parwatikar concurred that Mr. Hampton had suffered some brain damage and was distrustful of his defense counsel. He concluded, however, that Mr. Hampton did not suffer from any mental disease or defect, and that he was able to assist his attorney in his defense. The trial court explicitly found Dr. Parwatikarís testimony to be more believable than that of Dr. Pincus, and based upon that testimony and observation of the defendantís behavior in court, found that Mr. Hampton was competent. We defer to the factual findings of the trial court.(FN19)

Mr. Hampton contends that his case is "almost directly on point" with the only case he cites in support of his position: State ex rel. Sisco v. Buford.(FN20) In that case, this Court prohibited the defendant from being tried because he was unable to assist in his defense due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound that damaged his frontal lobes.(FN21) The parallels end there, however.

In that case, after hearing expert testimony, the trial court entered its findings of fact that: "defendant has no memory of the events of the date of the alleged crime and cannot aid in his defense and that said loss of memory is permanent and that defendant can never aid in his defense."(FN22)

Surely, Sisco does not stand for the proposition that any person with a frontal lobe injury is presumptively incompetent to stand trial. The factual situation here is distinct. An expert report found, and the trial court ruled, that Mr. Hampton suffered no inability to assist in his defense. We will not reweigh the evidence and second-guess this factual conclusion supported, as it is, by the expert testimony presented to the trial court and the courtís own observation of the defendantís behavior.

Mr. Hampton also concludes that Dr. Parwatikar evaluated Mr. Hampton by the wrong standard in determining whether he was competent. The proper standard, Mr. Hampton asserts, is whether a defendant "has a sufficient present ability to consult with his attorneys with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him."(FN23) Mr. Hampton does not attempt to explain, nor are we able to discern, how this standard is, in any meaningful sense, not met by Dr. Parwatikarís findings that Mr. Hampton "understands the charges pending against him and has the capacity to assist his attorney in his defense." The trial court did not err in ruling that Mr. Hampton was competent to stand trial.

Seizure and Search of Pontiac Bonneville

Mr. Hampton asserts that the trial court erred in refusing to suppress items seized during the warrantless search of the car he had left parked at Fellowship Baptist Church while he committed the murder. Soon after Ms. Keatonís kidnapping was reported, FBI agents investigating the crime came to suspect that the Pontiac Bonneville parked at the church was used in the crime. Accordingly, they had the car watched and eventually, towed. Two days later, they searched the car and found several items that were introduced against Mr. Hampton at trial. These included a notebook and various documents in Mr. Hamptonís handwriting, some indicating that he used the name S.G. Gambosi, a file, a shotgun, and a map of Missouri.

Searches of automobiles, because they are mobile, are generally excepted from the warrant requirement.(FN24) While Mr. Hampton concedes that police may seize a vehicle and search it later as long as they have probable cause at the time of the seizure,(FN25) he contends that, in this case, no probable cause to search the car existed at the time it was seized. While the State bears both the burden of production and the burden of persuasion in showing that a warrantless search is invalid,(FN26) we review the facts in the light most favorable to the trial courtís ruling.(FN27) The ultimate question of whether these facts are sufficient to support probable cause is decided de novo.(FN28)

The evidence before the suppression court consisted of the testimony of the two FBI agents who investigated Ms. Keatonís kidnapping. The officers testified that their attention was first drawn to the green Pontiac by the report of a neighbor of Ms. Keatonís, Norma Smith, that she had seen a man wearing dark clothes entering the neighborhood on foot at about ten oíclock that night, and that she had this man earlier at her church. She testified that she was startled to see him and that he had seemed startled to see her.

In talking to other parishioners, the FBI agents learned that the owner of the Pontiac had been behaving unusually and had refused offers of a ride, instead leaving on a bicycle. The agents concluded that a man on a bicycle could easily ride from the church to the spot where Ms. Smith saw the man in the approximately one hour between the sightings.

The agents knew that the kidnapper and Ms. Keaton had left in her car, and suspected that the Pontiac might be have been used by the kidnapper to approach the scene, since they had accounted for all other cars parked in the vicinity. The agents checked the registration, which showed that the car was registered to a Sam Gambosi. Although agents found that the car had only been sold to "Gambosi" a week earlier, the address he had given for the registration did not belong to any one by that name, nor had anyone at that address ever heard of such a person.

As the United States Supreme Court has recently reiterated, probable cause is a flexible, common-sense concept:

Articulating precisely what . . . "probable cause" mean[s] is not possible. [It is a] commonsense non-technical conception[] that deal[s] with "Ďthe factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act.í" . . . . [P]robable cause to search . . . exist[s] where the known facts and circumstances are sufficient to warrant a man of reasonable prudence in the belief that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found.(FN29)

Examining the facts before the trial court, we find that probable cause to search was present at the time the car was seized. The fact that its driver was seen in the neighborhood where the crime was committed shortly before it occurred, generally matched the description of the kidnapper, had behaved somewhat suspiciously at the time the car was parked, and the fact that the car was registered to a fictitious address reasonably gave officers cause to believe that the Pontiac was involved in Ms. Keatonís kidnapping, and that evidence of her whereabouts or of the identity of her kidnapper could be found therein. The trial court did not err in overruling the motion to suppress the evidence seized from the Pontiac.

Separate Penalty Phase Jury

Mr. Hampton claims that the trial court erred in overruling his motion for a separate penalty phase jury. As this Court has repeatedly held, this claim is meritless.(FN30)

Non-MAI Cautionary Instruction

Mr. Hampton alleges that the trial court erred in refusing to give a non-MAI cautionary instruction prior to death penalty voir dire. The proffered instruction indicated that the death qualification questions were routine and did not imply guilt. This Court has consistently held, and we now reiterate, that the refusal to give such an instruction is not error.(FN31)

Reasonable Doubt Instruction

Mr. Hampton contends that the reasonable doubt instruction in MAI-CR3d 313.30, given in the penalty phase of this case, deprived him of due process. Specifically, Mr. Hampton challenges the language explaining that "[p]roof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you firmly convinced of the truth of a proposition. The law does not require proof that overcomes every possible doubt." As this Court has repeatedly found, this language is consistent with the due process guarantee.(FN32)

Voir Dire Defining Degrees of Murder

Mr. Hampton alleges error based on the following exchange during voir dire:

[Defense counsel]: Itís necessary for this next question that Iím going to ask you that I give you a short kind of description of what the law is as it relates to homicide. Now, youíve heard that Mr. Hampton has been charged with murder in the first degree. That is the highest level of homicide. Murder in the first degree we define it as what we call deliberate murder. It is not the only level of homicide. We also have something we call murder in the second degree which is the next step down. And then we have two forms of what we call manslaughter. So theyíre all four levels of homicide. Murder in the first degree being the highest and murder in the second degree being the next step down.

Now, as I said, murder in the first degree is defined as deliberate murder. I think we used to use the word "premeditated." But we donít use that any more. It is called deliberate murder. It is defined by the law as cool reflection for a period of time no matter how brief. Okay, thatís our highest level. Deliberate murder.

Murder second degree is what we call knowingly murdering someone. The difference between the two goes to what we call the state of mind of the defendant.

[Prosecutor]: Judge, may we approach the bench?

[At sidebar]:

[Prosecutor]: Iím going to object to some what I perceive is a misstatement of the law. Trying to distinguish second from first.

THE COURT: The objection will be sustained. Letís proceed.

[Defense counsel]: Judge, may I address the court on this?

I intend to ask the jury whether in this or any other case theyíve learned that kidnapping is involved or weapons involved they will automatically feel that is murder in the first degree. I believe itís necessary to define the difference between murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree in order to place that question in context. I believe Iím correctly defining those two levels of homicide.

THE COURT: Well, I think I will allow you to, if they consider one thing is automatic, but you, I donít want you getting into the definitions of first and second degree murder. You can ask them if they think that kidnapping or something else would influence them in the case if you want to. I donít think you really do want to, but if you want to ask that question you can.

[Defense Counsel]: I do want to ask that question.

. . . .

THE COURT: The objection will be sustained as to the question that was put to the jury just now.

[Defense Counsel]: So the court is allowing, just for clarification purposes, the court is allowing me to ask about abduction and a weapon involved, but the court is not allowing me to ask whether the juror would automatically feel if a weapon or abduction or kidnapping is involved whether that would be murder in the first degree?

THE COURT: Oh, if you want to ask them if that automatically is murder in the first degree, you are entitled to ask that.

[Defense Counsel]: I think itís necessary to define the concept.

THE COURT: I donít want you to go into the definitions of what is murder first and murder second.

[Defense Counsel]: I donít know how to ask them if itís murder in the first degree without telling them before I do that. I guess Iíve already done it. But I mean I donít know.

THE COURT: The objection will be sustained as asked. Letís proceed.

[In open court]:

[Defense counsel]: . . . . Does anybody on this side of the room feel that if they heard that a gun was involved in a case or an abduction, that they would automatically conclude that this is murder in the first degree?

The nature and scope of questions asked at voir dire is reviewed for abuse of discretion.(FN33) Mr. Hampton argues that defense counsel was prohibited from conducting voir dire on the issue of the difference between the mental states required to find a defendant guilty of first and second degree murder. Mr. Hampton cites State v. Brown,(FN34) where this Court found reversible error in the trial courtís refusal to allow the defense to ask potential jurors whether they would be able to follow the law and require the State to meet its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that self-defense was not present.

Whether the principle of Brown also applies to questions about degrees of murder, however, need not be addressed, since the trial court here did not actually prevent the defense from presenting information to the jury or asking the question it sought to ask. As Mr. Hampton notes in his brief, no question was actually before the panel at the time objection was made, and no objection to a particular question was sustained. Although defense counsel was told not to define degrees of murder, he had, as he notes in the above colloquy, already done so. The panel was not told to disregard this information, and objection was not made to it within their hearing.

Defense counsel asked his question about whether anyone would presume first degree murder from the use of a gun, and several jurors responded that they would. Under these circumstances there was no conceivable abuse of discretion, since the trial court did not actually restrict the ability of the defense to conduct the voir dire in the manner it requested.

Voir Dire on Signing Death Verdict

Mr. Hampton argues that the trial court erred in permitting the prosecution to ask potential jurors whether they could sign a death verdict if chosen as foreperson. This claim is baseless, and this Court has repeatedly rejected it.(FN35)

Failure to Provide Child Care for Jurors

Mr. Hampton asserts that the trial court erred in refusing to provide child care for jurors, because that failure effectively, and unconstitutionally, excluded women and poor people from the jury. This Court has already examined this question and found that provision of child care for jury members is not constitutionally mandated.(FN36) We continue to follow that holding here.

Admissibility of Post-Mortem Photographs of the Victim

Mr. Hampton argues that nine photographs of Ms. Keatonís corpse admitted into evidence were unduly prejudicial. Three photographs were pictures of the body at the site where it was buried by Mr. Hampton, as it was being uncovered. Three were of the body as it was being readied for transport, and three were photographs taken during the autopsy. Mr. Hampton concedes that the trial court has broad discretion over the admission of photos and its ruling will be affirmed absent an abuse of that discretion.(FN37) Mr. Hampton also concedes that even gruesome photos are admissible if they "corroborate the testimony of a witness, . . . assist a jury better to understand the facts and testimony of witnesses, [or] prove an element of the case."(FN38)

As Mr. Hampton admits, the grave scene photographs were used by the State to corroborate and illustrate the testimony of an officer and an investigator who assisted in the excavation of the burial site. The photographs reflected both the condition of the scene and the condition of the body at the time of the excavation. As to the autopsy photographs, they were relevant to corroborate and illustrate the testimony as to the cause of Ms. Keatonís death. The admission of these photographs was not an abuse of discretion.

Review of Sentence

Mr. Hampton contends that his death sentence is unconstitutional because this Court does not engage in "meaningful" proportionality review. We have repeatedly rejected this argument,(FN39) and continue to do so.

As required by section 565.035.3 we review the record to ensure that the death penalty was properly imposed in this case. There is no evidence in the record that the sentence of death was imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor. Three aggravating circumstances were found by the jury: that Mr. Hampton had a prior serious assaultive criminal conviction;(FN40) that Mr. Hampton committed the murder for the purpose of receiving money from the victim or another;(FN41) and that the victim was killed in the course of a kidnapping.(FN42) The evidence supports the finding of one aggravating circumstance as required by 565.030.4(1), and supports the other aggravating circumstances found.

Considering the crime, the strength of the evidence, and the defendant, the sentence of death is proportionate to similar cases. In this case, Mr. Hamptonís own testimony establishes that he broke into Ms. Keatonís bedroom, terrorized, kidnapped, bound and blindfolded her, took her to a secluded area and killed her with complete detachment, in an utterly brutal manner, when his plan to ransom her failed. The penalty imposed in this case is not disproportionate to similar cases involving executions in the course of kidnappings, cases where the victim was brutally killed while bound and helpless, and killings for money.(FN43)

Conclusion

The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

*****

Footnotes:

FN1. More accurately, Mr. Hamptonís appointed counsel appeals; Mr. Hampton has filed a motion asking that his conviction be summarily affirmed and an early execution date set.
FN2. State v. Shurn, 866 S.W.2d 447, 455 (Mo. banc 1993)
FN3. Faretta v. California, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 2539-40 (1975).
FN4. Id. at 2541.
FN5. 28 F.3d 859, 862 (8th Cir. 1994) (emphasis in original).
FN6. Id. at 863.
FN7. McKaskle v. Wiggins, 465 U.S. 168, 183 (1984).
FN8. Cross v. United States, 893 F.2d 1287, 1292 (11th Cir. 1990).
FN9. 41 F.3d 516 (9th Cir. 1994).
FN10. Id. at 517, 519-20.
FN11. 13 F.3d 1354 (9th Cir. 1994).
FN12. Id. at 1356.
FN13. Id.
FN14. Arlt, 41 F.3d at 519.
FN15. 395 U.S. 238 (1969).
FN16. 574 S.W.2d 948 (Mo. App. 1978).
FN17. Rule 30.20.
FN18. Section 552.020.1, RSMo 1994.
FN19. State v. Wilkins, 736 S.W.2d 409, 415 (Mo. banc 1987); State ex rel. Sisco v. Buford, 559 S.W.2d 747, 748 (Mo. banc 1978); State v. Petty, 856 S.W.2d 351, 353 (Mo. App. 1993).
FN20. 559 S.W.2d at 747.
FN21. Id.
FN22. Id.
FN23. Dusky v. United States, 362 U.S. 402, 402 (1960).
FN24. State v. Lane, 937 S.W.2d 721, 722 (Mo. banc 1997).
FN25. Id. at 722-23; Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42, 52 (1970).
FN26. Section 542.296.6, RSMo 1994.
FN27. State v. Rodriguez, 877 S.W.2d 106, 110 (Mo. banc 1994).
FN28. Ornelas v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 116 S.Ct 1657, 1659 (1996)
FN29. Id. at 1661.
FN30. See, e.g., State v. Weaver, 912 S.W.2d 499, 522 (Mo. banc 1995); State v. Parker, 886 S.W.2d 908, 921 (Mo. banc 1994); State v. Whitfield, 837 S.W.2d 503, 509-10 (Mo. banc 1992); State v. Kilgore, 771 S.W.2d 57, 63 (Mo. banc 1990).
FN31. See, e.g., Weaver, 912 S.W.2d at 522; Parker, 886 S.W.2d at 921; Kilgore, 771 S.W.2d at 63.
FN32. See, e.g., State v. Smulls, 935 S.W.2d 9, 22 (Mo. banc 1996); State v. Brown, 902 S.W.2d 287, 287 (Mo. banc 1995); State v. Chambers, 891 S.W.2d 93,105 (Mo. banc 1994).
FN33. State v. Coats, 835 S.W.2d 430, 433 (Mo. App. 1992).
FN34. 547 S.W.2d 797 (Mo. banc 1977).
FN35. See e.g., State v. Chambers, 891 S.W.2d 93, 102 (Mo. banc 1994); Clemmons v. State, 785 S.W.2d 524, 529 (Mo. banc 1990); State v. McMillin, 783 S.W.2d 82, 91-92 (Mo. banc 1990).
FN36. State v. Whitfield, 837 S.W.2d 503, 510 (Mo. banc 1992).
FN37. State v. McMillin, 783 S.W.2d 82, 101 (Mo. banc 1990).
FN38. Id.
FN39. See, e.g., State v. Weaver, 912 S.W.2d 499, 522 (Mo. banc 1995); State v. Brown, 902 S.W.2d 278, 291 (Mo. banc 1995); State v. Whitfield, 837 S.W.2d 503, 515 (Mo. banc 1992).
FN40. Section 565.032.2(1), RSMo 1994.
FN41. Section 565.032.2(4), RSMo 1994.
FN42. Section 565.032.2(11), RSMo 1994.
FN43. State v. Simmons, No. 77439 (Mo. banc November 25, 1997); State v. Skillicorn, 944 S.W.2d 877 (Mo. banc 1997); State v. Smith, 944 S.W.2d 901 (Mo. banc 1997); State v. Basile, 942 S.W.2d 342 (Mo. banc 1997); State v. Copeland, 928 S.W.2d 828 (Mo. banc 1996); State v. Kreutzer, 928 S.W.2d 854 (Mo. banc 1996); State v. Tokar, 918 S.W.2d 753 (Mo. banc 1996); State v. Brown, 902 S.W.2d 278 (Mo. banc 1995); State v. Six, 805 S.W.2d 159 (Mo. banc 1991).

 

 

 
 
 
 
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