LIMA — A former Miss Kentucky USA title-holder faces up to three years in prison when she is sentenced next month in Allen County Common Pleas Court for bringing marijuana into the local prison.
Kia Hampton, 28, of Louisville, on Thursday withdrew her earlier plea of guilty and pleaded no contest to a third-degree felony charge of the illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto the grounds of a specified governmental facility,
Judge David Cheney set sentencing for March 21. Hampton faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Hampton was indicted by a grand jury in July 2017 after prosecutors say she attempted to smuggle drugs into the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution on May 26. Hampton reportedly was at the prison to visit inmate Jeremy Kelly, who is serving a four-year prison term on two drug trafficking charges out of Wood County.
According to statements made during Hampton’s earlier court appearances, prison authorities said Hampton made regular visits to see Kelly — up to three times per month. Prison officials had been monitoring Hampton’s phone calls to Kelly and suspected she previously smuggled drugs into the prison.
Upon entering the prison on May 26 of last year, Hampton was served with a search warrant and was taken to a small room for interrogation. It was during that interrogation that a balloon containing marijuana was found on the floor at Hampton’s feet, and she admitted removing it from the waistband of her pants and into her pants leg.
No other illegal substances were found when Hampton was strip-searched by female officers, according to court documents.
Defense Attorney Kenneth Rexford argued in court that certain statements made by his client to prison officials that day should be ruled inadmissible in trial because Hampton’s Miranda rights had been violated.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ken Sturgill represented the state of Ohio throughout the case.
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.