By Ray King
The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the claim of a Drew County man convicted of murdering his father that he was unfit to stand trial.
Alfonzo Hampton, 38, was sentenced to life in prison for the Feb. 21, 2017 shooting death of his father, Fred Hampton. Alfonzo Hampton walked into the Warren Police Department where he told officers he had killed his father and handed a gun to one of the officers. The body of Fred Hampton was found in the trunk of the vehicle Alfonzo Hampton arrived in and the medical examiner determined that the cause of death was two gunshot wounds to the head.
Alfonzo Hampton was charged with first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm and a competency hearing was held to determine if he was fit to stand trial. In February 2018, a report was received from the Arkansas State Hospital indicating that Hampton was unfit to stand trial and he was committed to the State Hospital for treatment.
In September 2018, a new report from the State Hospital was filed with the court and it said Hampton did not lack the capacity to understand the charges against him and did not lack the capacity to assist in his defense. At the request of Hampton’s attorney, Hampton was seen by an independent forensic psychiatrist who reported in April 2019 that Hampton had the ability to understand the charges against him but lacked the ability to assist his attorney with a defense.
Following another competency hearing, Hampton was found fit for trial and he was convicted, and appealed that conviction, arguing that the trial judge erred in determining that he was fit to stand trial.
Writing for the Supreme Court, Chief Judge John Dan Kemp said “We have stated that, following a circuit court’s ruling on competency to stand trial, we will not attempt to weigh the evidence or pass on the credibility of witnesses when the medical experts conflict with each other.”
“With dueling medical experts, we have explained that the trier of fact observes the witnesses firsthand, sees their demeanor and responsiveness in answering questions and is in the best position to determine which Is the more credible witness,” Kemp said in the ruling.
Hampton is serving his sentence at the Cummins Unit.