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Judge considers allowable testimony for Hampton trial

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

By IVY HERRON

missivy1964@yahoo.com

Possible testimony about Kevin L. Hampton, accused of murdering Dianna Lehman, 18, of Terre Haute, is in the hands of Vigo County Superior Court Judge David R. Bolk.

Bolk will determine whether testimony about Hampton's alleged violence will be allowed in Hampton's murder trial.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Hampton, defense attorney Daniel Weber, and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Sarah Mullican appeared before Judge Bolk in Division 3 Superior Court for pre-trial hearings.

Hampton, 44, of Terre Haute, is charged with murder, rape and criminal deviate conduct in connection with the May 2000 strangulation of Lehman in her home.

Prosecutors believe that showing Hampton's alleged pattern of violence toward women will help strengthen the murder case against Hampton.

Judge Bolk heard testimony from several of Hampton's former female associates in the Vigo County area and alleged victims and law enforcement officials in-volved in two sexual assault cases in California and one in Las Vegas.

Nine women took the stand to provide testimony about Hampton's activities during the past eight years. The women testified that Hampton used drugs and accused him of abducting, beating, choking and threatening to kill women to force them to have sex with him.

Law enforcement officers also appeared before Judge Bolk concerning Hampton's DNA, fingerprints and aliases they say he used.

In early 2005, while serving a 40-year sentence for an unrelated drug conviction at the Plainfield facility of the Indiana Department of Corrections, Hampton's DNA sample was entered into the CODIS database during a Vigo County rape investigation.

San Diego Police Detective Gregory Flood, an officer with the Sex Crimes Unit, testified that DNA and fingerprint evidence indicates Hampton's identity is the same as Renard Williams. Williams is wanted in connection with two open sexual assault cases in California.

In November 2005, Flood told the Associated Press that investigators became aware of Hampton only after evidence collected and loaded into the CODIS database by Indiana law enforcement linked him to their cases through DNA.

"Hampton is, from what I've seen, one of the more dangerous people that I've encountered," he said. "Assuming all that what he's been accused of is true, then he definitely falls into that category of a serial predator."

Joel Kisner, a detective from the Las Vegas Police Department, testified Hampton's DNA sample on file in the national CODIS database indicates a likely match to samples obtained from a rape victim in August 2000.

Hampton faces charges in Nevada for that crime.

A decision about the admissibility of various testimonies will not be announced until the judge has reviewed briefs filed by the prosecution and defense attorneys in the next 30 days. A decision is expected sometime in late August.

Hampton is expected to stand trial for the murder of Dianna Lehman on Nov. 27.

Judge Bolk scheduled a jury trial on Jan. 22 for Hampton's involvement in the November 2004 murders of Tanette "Toni" Dickison, 18, and Cassie Harris, 48, both of Terre Haute.

Authorities in California and Nevada must wait until the conclusion of the three trials against Hampton in Indiana before beginning extradition and court proceedings.



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