Man charged with Lake Palestine teenager’s death could have trial delayed until June

Crime

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Tyler man charged with manslaughter for the death of a teenager last summer could have his trial further delayed for months.

Jeffrey Hampton, 31, is accused of running over Roberto Carlos Bermejo Hernandez while he was standing on a dock back on Lake Palestine back in June 2019.

The prosecution asked for a continuance in the case while they await records from the medical examiner’s office. They are also wanting to have an expert witness testify and need time to make sure he/she can be present.

The defense also was searching for an unrelated continuance as one of Hampton’s lead attorney’s is set to start her maternity leave in a matter of days.

114th District Court Judge Christi Kennedy set a status hearing for Friday morning to set a potential date for the case. After discussions amongst themselves, prosecutors and the defense team said that it could happen as early as April or as late as June of this year.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Kennedy had numerous witnesses be simultaneously sworn in. They were told not to speak with anyone about their testimony. One of the witnesses appeared to be a pre-teen.

This was not the first time that Hampton’s trial has been delayed since he was indicted. Back in October, the defense was granted an extended continuance so they could continue to go through evidence provided by the prosecution.

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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