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Accused killer was in mental hospital

MANATEE — When Patrick Hampton was arrested in 2003 for stabbing a man several times with a steak knife, his attorney at the time says Hampton was an obviously mentally ill man.

Assistant Public Defender David Ehlers then asked a judge to rule that Hampton be deemed incompetent to stand trial. Manatee Judge Peter Dubensky agreed and ordered the man now accused of killing his elderly stepmother into a state mental health facility.

Hampton remains in jail without bond on a charge of murder after he called 911 late Friday, telling a dispatcher he had been in a fight with someone and wanted to turn himself in.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived to find Hampton standing at the end of the driveway of the home where he lived with his father, Kermit Hampton, and stepmother Maxine Hampton, both 83, in the 200 block of 62nd Street Northwest.

“I killed ’em,” Hampton told an arriving deputy, who later found Maxine Hampton dead in a bedroom with a pillow covering her face.

Investigation revealed that Kermit Hampton had been hospitalized a week prior with a heart-related illness, from which he died on Nov. 28, and Hampton had been at home alone with his stepmother.

Long before the killing, Hampton had been in and out of a state mental hospital, and in and out of prison, according to court records.

By June 2004, Dubensky had ordered Hampton to be involuntarily committed into the care of the Florida Department of Children and Family Services and to be placed in a state mental health facility. He was deemed by the judge a danger to himself and others.

Within six months, Hampton was back in court and a Dubensky found him competent to proceed. By February, Hampton pleaded no contest and Dubensky sentenced him to four years in prison.

Hampton served his time and was released from prison in August 2007, and later began living with his father and stepmother.

Ehlers on Monday recalled his former client as a man with obvious mental illness and needing more treatment.

“He was clearly someone who was mentally ill,” said Ehlers. “But the situation is that the demand for mental health services is overwhelming, and the state probably doesn’t keep everyone in as long as they should.”

Ehlers said he recalls meeting with Kermit Hampton about his son’s criminal cases.

“It is tragedy all around,” he said of Maxine Hampton’s killing.

Authorities seized a frying pan, a knife and broken glass detectives believe Hampton used to kill his stepmother, according to a court documents released Monday.

Detectives also seized numerous beer cans found around the body and in the room of Maxine Hampton. It is unclear whether alcohol played a role in the killing, though Hampton did admit he had been drinking, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow.

“We don’t know how much of a role that alcohol played in it or not. It is difficult to know what set him off,” Bristow said.

Patrick Hampton, 45, had a past of abusing his father, spending six months in jail in 1993 for beating Kermit Hampton, but Bristow said the elder Hampton’s hospitalization and death in recent days did not stem from abuse by his son.

Bristow said detectives are still awaiting a medical examiner’s report and other forensic evidence in Maxine Hampton’s killing in order to complete the investigation.