Trial for man accused of running over teen on Lake Palestine in 2019 set for April

Crime & Public Safety

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler man charged with manslaughter for the death of a teenager on Lakes Palestine in 2019 will face a jury next April.

32-year-old Jeffrey Hampton is accused of running over Roberto Carlos Bermejo Hernandez while he was standing on a dock back on Lake Palestine back in June 2019.

His case was delayed one month before the Covid-19 pandemic due to his lawyer going on maternity leave. One month later, the coronavirus brought the judicial system to a halt for months on end.

While hearings started up later in the summer, no trials could take place until early 2021. This has forced thousands of prisoners across the state to simply wait their turn for weeks to have their day in court.

On Monday, Hampton appeared before Judge Austin Jackson for a brief status hearing on the case. Lawyers from both sides agreed that a trial would be needed and that it was likely to last three or four days.

Prosecutors also said they would be adding some lesser charges to the indictment against Hampton, but they will pursue a manslaughter conviction at trial.

Jackson set the trial to begin April 18, 2022, but said that if both sides agreed to move it up earlier, they would work it out.

Hernandez was a TISD student and had just finished middle school at Moore Middle School.

Hampton is officially charged with manslaughter and accidental boating death for the incident. He could face up to 20 years in prison, if convicted. He has previous convictions for DWI and drug possession.

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