By: Lesley Messer
Two hours after being arrested for the murder of Tamika Huston, a South Carolina woman who disappeared over a year ago, Christopher Lemont Hampton confessed to the police. But it was a local reporter who got him to admit that he had, literally, struck while the iron was hot.
Hampton, who dated Huston for two months before killing her, was arrested Aug. 12 after new forensic evidence linked him to the killing. This week, Hampton told his story to Alexander Morrison, a staff writer for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Hampton’s newspaper confession included the revelation that he had killed Huston by hitting her in the head with a hot iron following an argument over money. He claimed that her death was accidental.
Morrison was assigned to report on the arrest last week because the journalist usually on the beat was on vacation. He decided to ask Hampton — who at the time did not have a lawyer — for an interview, which was granted. Hampton ended up giving Morrison a full confession, chock full of gruesome details.
?I was taken totally off guard that I had the opportunity to do [the interview],? Morrison told E&P today.
In the beginning Hampton — who Morrison described as seemingly “normal,” aside from his shackled hands and feet — didn?t offer too many details. He confessed readily, but he was hesitant to explain exactly how and what he did.
?What I did was let him tell the story the first time, having to prod him on along the way. When we finished it, I had him tell it to me again and I started to ask questions,? he said. ?When I first asked him, he said he killed her and wouldn?t say how. And when I asked him again about 15 minutes later, he said, ?I threw something at her,? but he wouldn?t say what. And I said, ?You threw something at her? It must?ve been pretty heavy,? and he said it was an iron.
?Then it came out that it was a hot iron.?
Morrison said that he felt uncomfortable throughout the interview, but he tried to sound as sympathetic as possible. He was afraid that if he appeared critical, Hampton would stop the interview and he would lose his story.
?There were definitely times when he seemed emotional. He never broke down in tears but there was some pretty grisly stuff,? Morrison explained. ?He was sorry but it?s difficult to tell the root of it. Was he sorry for her or was he sorry for himself??
Publicity about Huston?s disappearance racked Hampton with guilt, the killer asserted, so much so that two months after the murder, he considered digging up her remains and turning himself in to the police.
After the interview with Morrison, Hampton, whose criminal record includes federal bank robbery charges, went to a bond hearing for a traffic violation. The judge asked if he had legal representation for the murder trial. When Hampton (according to Morrison) said he didn?t, the judge replied, ?Until you get one, I advise you not to talk to anyone.?
Hampton just gazed back at Morrison. ?He looked worried,? the reporter said.
Morrison added that he doesn?t think that Hampton is going to speak to any more reporters.