Paighton Houston update: Man charged with abuse of corpse, cause of death still unknown

 al.com  01/16/2020 14:39:49   Carol Robinson | crobinson@al.com

A 50-year-old convicted sex offender has been charged in connection with the disappearance of a Trussville woman who vanished after leaving a Lakeview bar.

Fredrick Hampton, of Brighton, is being sought on a charge for abuse of corpse. He is not charged in connection with Paighton Houstons death, only with actions authorities say he took following her death which in this case would be burying her.

The Jefferson County Coroners Office has not yet determined the cause and manner of death. They are awaiting the results of additional testing, including toxicology, before the report is complete. The testing takes four to six weeks.

The Jefferson County Sheriffs Office will hold a 10:30 a.m. press conference to discuss the warrant against Hampton.

The body of the 29-year-old Houston was found Friday, Jan. 3, wrapped in sheets and buried in a shallow grave behind the house at 215 Chapel Drive. That house belongs to relatives of Hampton.

According to Alabama law, a person commits the crime of abuse of a corpse if he or she knowingly treats a human corpse in a way that would outrage ordinary family sensibilities. It is a Class C felony.

Hampton was initially held on suspicion of kidnapping in the Birmingham City Jail on a 48-hour extension beginning Saturday, Dec. 28, but was released two days later because investigators did not have enough to charge him with any crime.

Hampton was previously convicted in 1992 on first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy charges out of Jefferson County. He served 20 years, five months and 26 days in prison before his release on March 22, 2012. He was also charged with kidnapping, but that charge was dismissed.

Details about those March 5, 1991 crimes werent immediately available but a sex offender notification states the offender, along with seven other men, committed rape Rape 1st and Sodomy 1st on an adult female.

Shortly after the completion of his prison sentence, Hampton was arrested again for failure to provide authorities with his new address, which is required by law for convicted sex offenders. He pleaded guilty to that charge in September 2012 and received a two-year suspended sentence.

Houston vanished Dec. 20. She was last seen at Tin Roof in the 2700 block of Seventh Avenue South. According to Birmingham police, she left the bar about 10:45 p.m. with two heavy-set black males. Sgt. Johnny Williams said it was reported that Houston left the location willingly with the two men.

She had reportedly gone to the Birmingham bar with co-workers. Friends on Facebook said Houston didnt know the men and that the last text message from her to a coworker  about two hours after she left Tin Roof - stated she didnt know where she was, and she felt she might be in trouble. She had sent multiple messages to her co-worker, the last one reading, Idk who im with so if I call please answer. I feel in trouble. That text was sent at 12:15 a.m. Dec. 21 but not seen by her coworker until nearly two hours later.

Similar cases have happened around the state.

In 2014, a Pinson womans body was found burning behind an abandoned Fairfield home. Kenneth Lamar Childers and Nathaniel Fortune were charged with abuse of corpse following the death of 22-year-old Megan Elizabeth Monroe.

Monroes remains were discovered April 19, 2014 behind an empty house in the 500 block of 40th Street. Authorities determined Monroe was already dead from an alleged drug overdose when the two men put Monroes body behind the house and set it on fire, according to the indictments against Childers and Fortune. Childers went to police nine days later and confessed what he had done and identified Fortune as the second suspect. Police also obtained video of the two men buying gas.

Both men eventually pleaded guilty to the felony charge. Childers was sentenced to six years in prison; Fortune to 10 years in prison. Fortune had previous convictions for attempted murder, possession of cocaine and carrying a pistol without a license.

In November 2017, the body of 27-year-old Melissa Ann Cleckler was found on Egg and Butter Road near Oak Drive in Columbiana. Her body had been at the location for a couple of days before the discovery. The cause and manner of her death was never determined.

Allen Dion Jones, 44, of Jemison, and Anthony Scott Germany, 42, were charged with abuse of corpse. Both men pleaded guilty to the charge in 2018 and received nine-year suspended sentences.

Anyone with information on Hamptons whereabouts is asked to call 911, the sheriffs office at 205-325-1450 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.

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