Archived Story

McCary exonerated in Hampton murder case

Published 4:01pm Friday, October 5, 2012

One of the men arrested this week in connection with a 14-year-old Clanton murder case has been cleared of any involvement.

George Mark McCary, 46, was arrested Wednesday in Baldwin County, but Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said authorities determined a second man arrested, Marty Joe Taylor of Clanton, acted alone.

“We finally got all the evidence that we needed and cooperation from Mr. Taylor to exonerate Mark McCary from having any involvement with the murder of Jennifer Gail Hampton on Oct. 18, 1998,” Stilwell said. “We are confident there will be only one arrest in this case.”

The body of Hampton, a black resident of Second Avenue South, was found by a passing motorist off Hinkle Road in Clanton almost 14 years ago. An autopsy determined that she was shot in the back of the head.

“Detectives conducted an investigation, and, based upon the collected evidence and technology available in 1998, no arrests were made,” C.J. Robinson, chief deputy district attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit, which includes Chilton County, told The Clanton Advertiser on Thursday.

The case went cold in 1999 and was re-opened in 2011. Robinson credited updated forensics technology for the breakthrough.

Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said evidence recovered in 2005 was discovered to be related to the case.

Taylor is being held in Shelby County Jail. Robinson said a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on Nov. 13 with Chilton County District Judge Rhonda Hardesty presiding.

Robert Binion, an influential member of the Alabama chapter of the NAACP, said he thinks there is a sense of relief following the arrest for the murder.

“I commend the chief and his staff because he didn’t give up,” Binion said. “After all these years, some folks had given up on it.

“When justice prevails like that, it’s something to be glad of.”

Binion said he has spoken with Hampton’s niece and that she felt like the family “can go on with their lives now.”

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