Jury delivers guilty verdict in Clanton cold case

Published 4:55 pm Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Chilton County jury took 35 minutes Thursday morning to convict a Clanton man of murder in the October 1998 death of a Clanton woman.

A panel of 12 jurors returned the guilty verdict around 10 a.m. for Marty Joe Taylor, 52, who shot 39-year-old Jennifer Gail Hampton, who used to live on Second Avenue South, on Oct. 18, 1998.

As a member from the jury read the verdict, Taylor stood in the courtroom wearing a maroon-colored button-down shirt and black jeans showing no emotion.

Shortly after the verdict was read, members of the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department placed Taylor in handcuffs and escorted him out of the courtroom.

Some of Hampton’s family sat on the opposite side of the courtroom from Taylor wiping tears from their faces with tissues and hugging one another after Taylor left the courtroom.

Taylor will remain in custody at the Chilton County Jail until his sentencing July 24 at 8:30 a.m.

On Wednesday, jurors heard testimony of how a passing motorist found Hampton off Hinkle Road, naked from the waist down, with a single gunshot wound to the back of her head.

After detectives conducted an initial investigation when the crime occurred in 1998, and based upon the collected evidence and technology available at the time, the case went cold and no arrests were made.

The case was later re-opened in 2011 by former Chilton County Sheriff and current investigator for the 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office Billy Wayne Fulmer.

Using updated forensics technology, investigators were able to locate Taylor’s DNA profile as a match to DNA taken from Hampton’s body.

Taylor was arrested in 2012 and charged with murder.

Jury selection started Monday for the murder trial that began Wednesday at the Chilton County Courthouse with Circuit Judge John Bush presiding.