Mistrial declared in trial of David Hampton, accused of killing 79-year-old Celestino Rodriguez

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 2:57 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A Lubbock judge declared a mistrial in the trial of David Hampton on Thursday. The trial will be reset and a new jury will be selected. We’re told witnesses made improper statements during testimony, causing a mistrial.

David Wayne Hampton is accused of killing 79-year-old Celestino Rodriguez back in 2019.

Police say Hampton, 55, was one of seven people allegedly involved in the disappearance and murder of Rodriguez. If convicted, he will face life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Rodriguez was reported missing on Aug. 3, 2019. Court records say the 79-year-old was lured out to a remote location by Heather Casias, who knew he would be receiving a government check. Police believe he was ambushed and beaten to death by David Hampton and Brett Garza; the three suspects then stole a number of Rodriguez’s personal belongings, including his wallet and car.

Silver Alert issued for 79-year-old Celestino Rodriguez.
Silver Alert issued for 79-year-old Celestino Rodriguez.(Slaton Police Department (custom credit) | Slaton Police Department)

Two other suspects, Toby Daughtry and Amanda Blagburn, were arrested and charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle: Rodriguez’s car. They told police they dumped the vehicle in Temple after a Silver Alert was issued for Rodriguez, and that Hampton gave them the car the day after Rodriguez’s disappearance.

Casias was eventually questioned by police about Rodriguez’s disappearance, who say she spoke with Hampton and Garza, suggesting that Rodriguez’s body should be moved.

Garza allegedly recruited the two final suspects, James Anderson and Freddie Salinas, to help move Rodriguez’s body. Police say they moved Rodriguez from a West Lubbock County cotton field to a field in Abernathy, where police found him two weeks later.

Hampton and Garza allegedly spent over $1,000 using Rodriguez’s credit card after his disappearance. The two were arrested and charged with credit card fraud. Those charges would later be upgraded to murder charges.

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