LIMA — The attorney for a former Miss Kentucky USA title-holder has until Oct. 20 to provide written arguments to Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed explaining why a warrant issued authorizing a body search of his client as she entered the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution earlier this year should be ruled unjustified.
During a suppression hearing Thursday, Defense Attorney Rex Rexford argued that Kia Hampton, 28, of Louisville, should not have been searched by prison authorities when she entered the Lima facility on May 26 of this year. Reed said written arguments supporting that claim must be submitted by next week, and the state’s response is due Oct. 27.
During her search upon entering the Lima prison, Hampton was found to be in the possession of a balloon containing nearly three grams of marijuana. She was at the prison to visit inmate Jeremy Kelly, who is serving four years in prison on two drug trafficking charges out of Wood County. During Thursday’s hearing, prison authorities said Hampton made regular visits to see Kelly — up to three times per month.
Trooper David Schultz of the State Highway Patrol testified that a search warrant was sought, and obtained, from Lima Common Pleas Court David Cheney based on several recorded phone calls during which authorities determined that an attempt would be made by Hampton to smuggle drugs into the facility. Authorities suspected that drugs had been smuggled into the prison by Hampton on previous occasions.
Shawn Wakefield, institutional investigator at the prison, also testified that when Hampton was served with the warrant and was taken to a small room for further interrogation that a smell of marijuana was evident. Wakefield said the balloon containing marijuana was found on the floor at Hampton’s feet and that she admitted removing it from the waistband of her pants and pushing it into her pants leg.
No other illegal substances were found when Hampton was strip searched by female officers and she waived her right to counsel, according to court documents.
Wakefield also testified that marijuana is considered a valuable currency in prison and that Kelly had been overheard in a phone call with Hampton as saying he “wanted to be the head (n-word)” in the prison in dealing contraband.
According to various media accounts, Hampton was crowned Miss Kentucky USA in November 2010 when she was 21 years old. She was the first African American chosen to represent Kentucky in the Miss USA pageant.
She is facing a maximum sentence of three years in prison for her alleged attempt to smuggle drugs into the Lima prison, a third-degree felony. Hampton remains free on bond but must make weekly trips to Lima to submit to urinalysis testing.