Killer with two different murder convictions cleared for release by state parole board
BATON ROUGE- A man with two separate murder convictions was granted parole Thursday, causing outrage from the victim's family, prosecutors and law enforcement.
"I'm not sure what's getting read, processed or looked at," Ascension Parish District Attorney Ricky Babin said. "We were so shocked yesterday when they let this guy go I haven't even begun a damage assessment of how this happened."
Clifford Hampton killed 18-year-old Bertha Ann Gibson in 1958 after she refused to have sex with him. He stabbed Gibson 28 times. Hampton, who was 17-years-old at the time of the killing, was sent to Angola with a life sentence.
Three years later, Hampton killed inmate Camey Time for "telling lies about him." Prison paperwork indicates Hampton received another life sentence for that murder.
Babin's office appeared at the parole hearing for Hampton on Thursday to voice their concerns.
In 2017, new state laws permitted juvenile homicide offenders to become eligible for parole. The district attorney filed what's known in legal circles as a "worst of the worst motion" to keep Hampton locked up since his first conviction occurred while he was 17.
"Just because you are parole eligible doesn't mean you should walk out," Babin said. "He committed a second murder and that's been omitted, got a life sentence for that too. It's mind-boggling."
Hampton's prison record shows he's had decades of problems.
While he was in prison at Angola, he was convicted of a sex offense, got caught with three shanks rigged with nails and needles, and refused to take a sex offender treatment class.
"Part of the reason the parole board let him go is because they called him a model inmate," Babin said. "I don't understand how you can kill someone in prison and be a model inmate. I'd hate to see what those who aren't model inmates are doing in there."
As Babin begins to digest what the parole board did, he's urging the public to be alert and speak up.
"If you disagree with this kind of thing, if you think someone can kill two people and walk out of prison because someone decided that's enough, I think you should stand up and start calling some people," Babin said.
Late Thursday, the parole board issued a statement saying Hampton was eligible for parole and met the requirements. A residency plan is being finalized and once it's approved, he'll be released.
The board also said Hampton's life sentence for the Angola murder was vacated in 2018 and the charge was reduced to manslaughter.
The family released the following statement:
"We the family of Bertha Ann Gibson are devastated by the unimaginable injustice that her killer, Clifford Hampton, a twice convicted murderer, was released from serving two life sentences by the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole. This decision is a disgrace and terribly disappointing. We have never forgotten Bertha Ann, affectionately known, “Berd-An,” nor the brutal and heinous manner of her killing at the hands of Clifford Hampton. She was the brightest light in our family. She was loved. She was the center of joy in our family. Clifford Hampton snuck into our family home and stabbed her over two dozen times, while her mother and siblings were away at work. She was just a teenage girl. She would have soon followed her older sister to Southern University, and been only the second person in our family to attend college. However, that was not to be. Bertha-Ann was afraid of Clifford Hampton and wanted nothing to do with him. He stabbed her to death because she dared to refuse his unwanted sexual advances. Her mother, Mrs. Albertha Gibson, never recovered from Bertha Anne’s brutal murder. She was never the same. On her death bed, she called out to her murdered child. After he killed Bertha Ann, Clifford Hampton went on to kill yet again, murdering a fellow inmate at Angola, who he claimed lied on him, sexually assaulting another, and attempted to stab yet another inmate. Clifford Hampton is a dangerous violent sexual predator. Despite this, yesterday the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole released him into the community. Clifford Hampton was sentenced to two life terms for his killings. He should have remained in prison for the rest of his natural life. We as a family and a community remain deeply disappointed and frustrated by the process of review and the ultimate decision by the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole to release this violent individual back into the community. Bertha Ann was so much more than a poor young African American child of a widowed domestic. The lives of young African American women mattered in 1958 and today. Bertha-Ann Gibson’s life mattered, but apparently not to the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole. We have only asked for justice. However, the Board of Pardons and Parole denied that to our loved one yesterday. We are frustrated saddened, and fearful for the community and the people of Louisiana. They have not been well served by the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole."