By David Weber, Boston Herald
A Boston police detective testified yesterday that he persuaded a suspect to confess to taking part in the horrific murder of a pregnant 14-year-old Dorchester girl by appealing to his "emotions, heartstrings and human decency."
"I told him it was such an ugly crime - the horror of it all - that the lies he was telling made him look like a horrible person," Detective Dennis Harris said while on the witness stand in the Suffolk Superior Court trial of Lord Hampton, 25, for the murders of Chauntae Jones and her unborn fetus.
Harris' testimony came in response to questions from defense attorney Randy Gioia, who tried to prove his client's self-incriminating statements, which were played on tape for the jury Monday, were the result of improper coercion.
On the tape, Hampton admits helping his friend Kyle Bryant, then 17, cover Jones with dirt while she gasped for air in a crudely dug grave in Mattapan. Hampton said Bryant planned the murder and stabbed her because she was pregnant with his child and he feared prosecution for statutory rape.
Prosecutor David Meier said Jones died from suffocation and knife wounds on the night of Sept. 28, 1999, on the grounds of the old Boston State Hospital.
In April, Bryant was acquitted of murdering Jones after he blamed the slaying on Hampton.
The girl's mother, Pamela Jones, also took the stand and answered questions about the last time she saw her daughter.
Staring blankly ahead in an effort to hold back her tears, Pamela Jones recounted how she and family members made fliers with pictures of Chauntae and posted them all around the city with the hope that someone would call and tell her that her daughter was OK.
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Finally, on Nov. 2, the Jones family was told her body had been found.