Clanton man sentenced to 40 years in cold case murder

Published 4:15 pm Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Clanton man found guilty of murder in the October 1998 death of a Clanton woman was sentenced on Thursday to 40 years in prison.

Marty Joe Taylor, 52, appeared in court Thursday morning wearing a light-purple jail jumpsuit with chains around his wrists and ankles and thick, black-rimmed glasses.

Chilton County Circuit Judge John Bush delivered the sentencing around 9:40 a.m.

Taylor showed no emotion after Bush returned the sentencing order.

In June, a panel of 12 jurors returned a guilty verdict after deliberating for 35 minutes for Taylor who shot 39-year-old Jennifer Gail Hampton, who used to live on Second Avenue South, on Oct. 18, 1998.

Hampton was found off Hinkle Road in 1998, 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, 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.

According to the sentencing order, Taylor is sentenced to the custody of the commissioner of the Department of Corrections for a period of 40 years, but he will get credit for time served.

Kristy Peoples, one of the prosecutors of the case for the 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, told Bush several members of Hampton’s family were present in court.

“Jennifer Gail Hampton did not deserve to die,” Peoples told Bush. “Mr. Taylor killed her and got away with this for almost 15 years.”

After Bush read the sentencing, Taylor was escorted out of the courtroom.

Peoples and Mark Scott, who also prosecuted the case, said they were pleased with both the verdict and sentencing.

“We are extremely happy,” Peoples said.

District Attorney Randall Houston said he was also pleased with the sentencing and thought justice had been served in Chilton County.

Taylor could be eligible for parole in 15 years.