Fredrick Hampton is a registered sex offender in Alabama who is being sought in the death investigation of Paighton Houston, whose body was found in a shallow grave, according to Jefferson County authorities.
Authorities now say Houston died of an accidental overdose of morphine and methamphetamine.
Hampton was previously convicted in a vicious gang rape case in which a woman testified that she was abducted at gunpoint from a bus stop in downtown Birmingham, Alabama and sexually assaulted by seven men, according to appellate court records from that case.
Authorities have not yet determined Houston’s cause of death. Hampton is charged with abuse of a corpse and violation of the sex offender notification act.
Authorities scheduled a press conference for later in the morning on January 16, 2020, but the name broke shortly before it. Hampton is at large, according to Patch. Some sites are identifying him as Frederick Hampton, but state records show his name is spelled Fredrick Hampton.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Say They Have Evidence That Houston Died in a House in Brighton
According to Deputy Chief David Agee, a warrant was issued for 50-year-old Fredrick Hampton, “who is charged with abuse of a corpse, which is a class C felony.” The charge carries a $60,000 bond.
“What we know is that no physical trauma to the body of the victim would have led to her death,” Agee said. “We have evidence that the victim and the offender were together the night of December 20, 2019. We have evidence the victim died the next day at a house on McClain street in Brighton. We have evidence that after the victim died, her body was disposed of in a criminal manner by Fredrick Hampton.”
He said there was “no evidence that there was any force” when Houston left the bar she was at that night. He declined to speculate on a motive. “This news conference is to inform you about warrants that have been issued…arrest warrants have been obtained against 50 year old Fredrick Hampton in connection with the death of Paighton Houston,” said Agee.
Paighton’s cause of death still has not been publicly revealed. According to AL.com, the charge against Hampton would be limited to actions taken after her death, perhaps helping bury her. Toxicology testing is still needed before Paighton’s cause of death can be determined.
Houston, who lived with her family in Trussville, Alabama, disappeared after being seen at the Tin Roof bar in the 2700 block of Seventh Avenue South in Birmingham about 10:45 p.m., according to police. Houston texted a co-worker to say she was in trouble.
Birmingham Police previously asked that anybody with information on the case should call 205-297-8413 or 911. Tips can be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.
2. Hampton Is a Registered Sex Offender in Alabama For a Rape Committed With 7 Other Men
According to Alabama sheriff’s records, Fredrick Hampton is listed as a registered sex offender. Those records show that he lists a Birmingham, Alabama address.
• Description: 13A-6-61 – First Degree Rape
• Date Convicted: 01/17/1992
• Conviction State: Alabama
• Release Date: 03/26/2012
• Details: NONE
• Description: 13A-6-63 – First Degree Sodomy
• Date Convicted: 03/19/1992
• Conviction State: Alabama
• Release Date: 03/26/2012
• Details: NONE
Here’s that record:
In the comments section on the sex offender website page, it’s revealed: “Offender along with 7 other men Committed Rape 1st and Sodomy 1st on an adult female.” He’s described as also going by the name Fred, being age 50, and standing 5 foot 11 inches tall, with a tattoo on his bicep.
The appellate court case states: “He was sentenced to 20 years and six months’ imprisonment on both the rape and sodomy convictions. He received a sentence of two years’ imprisonment on the kidnapping conviction. He raises five issues on this appeal from those convictions.” However, the court reversed the kidnapping conviction, writing, “The appellant’s convictions for rape in the first degree and sodomy in the first degree are affirmed. The conviction for kidnapping in the second degree is reversed, and the cause is remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
Here’s what happened in that case, according to appellate court records.
The victim in that case “testified that on the morning of March 5, 1991, she was standing at a bus stop in downtown Birmingham when she was abducted at gunpoint by three men in a car, was taken to a house where four other men were present, and was forced by all seven men to perform a variety of sexual acts against her will. The appellant took the stand in his own defense. He testified that L.C. voluntarily entered the car, agreed to ‘party’ with him and the others, and willingly participated in sexual relations with some of his companions. He denied that he had any sexual contact with L.C.”
The court records say the woman had bruising and swelling. His trial was “consolidated with that of his brother and codefendant, Timothy Hampton.” The records say that Fredrick “testified that his brother Timothy told him that he, Timothy, had had sex with L.C.,” saying, “He [Timothy] said he did, but I didn’t see him.” Later, Timothy Hampton “took the stand and admitted that he and L.C. had engaged in sexual intercourse, but he claimed that the act was done with L.C.’s consent.”
While deliberating, the jury said it “would like to hear the definition of second degree kidnapping. In addition, if the victim gets in the car willingly and then asks to be let go at some point, is this second degree kidnapping?” Fredrick’s counsel wanted the jury to be able to consider a lesser charge.
The appeals court found, “The court’s failure to charge on unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a lesser included offense of kidnapping in the second degree constitutes reversible error.”
3. Fredrick Hampton, Who Was Initially Held on a Kidnapping Accusation, Is at Large
The Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Hampton is not currently in custody. He is being sought by authorities. AL.com reported that Hampton “was initially held on suspicion of kidnapping in the Birmingham City Jail” starting on December 28, 2019. However, he was released because authorities didn’t have enough evidence to charge him with that crime, the newspaper reported.
“He’s a wanted man,” Agee said. He said it’s possibly that Hampton went to Georgia.
On a Facebook page devoted to her daughter’s case, Paighton’s mom has posted heartbreaking comments.
“There are no updates yet. Here in a few days I will post information that I do know. Nothing that has been given from detectives just corresponding text done the day of Paighton’s disappearance from Paighton and days after and from coworkers. People can cover the truth with many many differing stories, but WHY?! I will say it again, I don’t want anyone to be blamed that is innocent but can someone that was with Paighton that night tell the truth,” she wrote.
“I have information from Paighton that day and night that is very contradictory to the several stories coming from coworkers. Even the coworkers supposedly with her that night have different stories from each other. Just doesn’t add up. Paighton lived with us and I saw her everyday. This investigation needs to be looked at deep. I will leave no stones unturned till this is solved. When what I do know to be truth comes out it will explain alot and as to why I don’t think she went to get drugs.”
4. Houston’s Body Was Found in a Shallow Grave at a Vacant Home
The tragic news came two weeks after Houston disappeared: Her body had been found.
Houston was found dead at a vacant house on Chapel Drive in Hueytown on January 3, 2020. It was not immediately clear what her cause or manner of death were. Agee said he believes Hampton’s relatives own the home. He said a lot of information came in through tip lines, which allowed authorities to track down “the location of the victim.”
“On 1/2/2020 Detectives with the Trussville Police Department along with investigators with the Metro Area Crime Center developed information on a possible location for the remains of Paighton Houston,” the Trussville Police Department said in a statement. “That information was shared with the Birmingham Police Department and Investigators arrived on scene and discovered what appeared to be a shallow grave. Law enforcement secured the area and a search was conducted this morning (1/3/2020) in which human remains were located behind a residence on Chapel Dr. Those remains have been identified as Paighton Houston. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Houston family as they begin the grieving process.”
Authorities revealed that Houston’s body was intact and wrapped in fabric, AL.com reported. The home was vacant because its owner moved into a nursing home, and Houston’s body was found in the backyard.
5. Police Previously Said Houston Left the Bar With Two Males
Birmingham Police Sergeant Johnny Williams initially told Al.com that police believed Houston had left the bar with two men and that she went willingly.
The men were only described as heavyset black males, but it’s not clear whether Hampton is one of those men. The newspaper reported that Paighton sent a friend a frantic text message that night, but the friend didn’t see it right away. It read:
“Idk who im with so if I call please answer. I feel in trouble.” That text was sent at 12:15 a.m. on December 21, 2019.
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