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Hampton Makes First Court Appearance

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According to Philip Hampton's attorney, the 18-year-old has an IQ in the neighborhood of 55, and the mental capacity of a six- or seven-year-old.

Hampton was arrested early this month after allegedly assaulting 69-year-old Carolyn Miller. Miller lives next to the Mental Health Mental Retardation facility where Hampton attends regular meetings.

By law, anyone under the age of 10 is deemed incompetent to stand trial, and the defense argues Hampton's mental handicaps might make him incapable of being put on trial.

"When your client has the mentality of a six-year-old just in an 18-year-old's body, I don't see the difference in that," said Hampton's attorney, Craig Greaves. "Of course, that's not what the law reads, but that's something that needs to be addressed here."

And Hampton's mental state was at the forefront of the hearing Thursday morning. The defendant entered the courtroom stoicly and did not utter a word aloud during the proceedings.

Greaves called the writ of habeas corpus hearing, but not to determine if Hampton should remain in jail or to lower his bail as it is normally called for. In fact, Greaves said he has no interest in moving him from the jail and said they were treating him well.

Instead, the defense requested that Judge J.D. Langley appoint a mental health expert from Dallas to evaluate Hampton. Representing the District Attorney's office, Cory Crenshaw said local experts would be fine in this case.

In the end, Judge Langley ruled that a local doctor would evaluate Hampton -- probably within the next week or so -- but that the Dallas expert requested by the Greaves would be appointed by the court to the defense.

Also, the judge approved a defense request to have a private investigator appointed to help track down the numerous people who have dealt with Hampton over the years. These two appointments come at the county's expense, but the defense says the rulings are critical to the case.

"I know it costs money," Greaves said, "but I think it definitely shows that when you get into a serious situation like this, money's always an issue, but you need to spend a little money to make sure everybody's rights are protected."

When the proceedings ended, he grandparents of Hampton met with him for the first time outside of the jailhouse since he was arrested. However, immediately after this meeting, Hampton was handcuffed and taken back to his cell.

We asked the district attorney's office for reaction, but because the case is pending, they say they can't comment.