Cold-case murder conviction upheld

Published 5:15 pm Monday, April 13, 2015

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on April 10 upheld the murder conviction of Marty Joe Taylor, Attorney General Luther Strange announced in a press release.

Taylor, 52, of Clanton, was convicted in Chilton County Circuit Court in June of 2014 for the murder of Jenny Gail Hampton.

Evidence presented at trial showed that Jenny Gail Hampton’s body was discovered off a rural road in Chilton County on October 18, 1998.

Hampton’s body was taken to the Department of Forensic Sciences, where investigators collected blood and DNA samples. An autopsy revealed Hampton died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the back of her head.

After remaining unsolved for about 14 years, the case was reopened by the District Attorney’s office in September 2011. Thereafter, the DNA evidence from Hampton’s body was entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, and Marty Joe Taylor was identified as a match.

After three custodial interviews, in which Taylor gave conflicting stories about the events leading up to Hampton’s death, he was arrested and charged with Hampton’s murder.

The case was prosecuted at trial by District Attorney Randall Houston’s office. Taylor was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment and subsequently sought to have his conviction reversed on appeal.

The Attorney General’s Appeals Division handled the case during the appeals process, arguing for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to affirm the conviction. The court did so in a decision issued April 10.

In the release, Strange commended Assistant Attorney General Madeline Lewis of the Attorney General’s Appeals Division for her successful work in this case.