Businessman behind bars Lampkin to stay in jail until jurors decide charges|[01/19/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 18, 2008

Lampkin Construction Company owner Ronnie Lampkin will wait in jail until a grand jury decides, perhaps later this month, what charges he may face.

Judge Frank Vollor made the ruling after a 3 1/2-hour hearing during which Lampkin was ordered Friday to wait behind bars, pending a grand jury’s examination of charges that say that while he was on bond for assaulting his estranged wife he confronted and assaulted her again.

Lampkin, 53, has been in jail since the second incident, which occurred in downtown Jackson on Dec. 10.

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He testified in his own behalf at the hearing, insisting he had been baited.

Assistant District Attorney Dewey Arthur, who presented the state’s case to deny bond, said Vollor’s order meant there was probable cause to believe the defendant presented a continuing threat to his wife and her family if released from jail.

Nancy “Polly” Lampkin, who testified during the hearing, declined comment afterward. But her brother Patrick Vinzant expressed his content with the judge’s decision.

“I feel this was the exact decision a judge could have made with the evidence and testimonies given today,” Vinzant said. “Because of what he’s done, myself and my family feel a lot safer knowing he’ll be in jail until his case goes to the grand jury.”

During her testimony, Polly Lampkin, 38, said Ronnie Lampkin continually threatened her life while he beat and strangled her in October and even noted that he laughed during the incident when one of his hands got tired and he began hitting her with his other hand.

In his testimony, Lampkin said he was acting in self-defense in the incident, that Polly Lampkin had attacked him first, kicking and hitting him in the chest area where he had scars from a bypass surgery.

They agreed the encounter took place after Polly Lampkin had returned home from a Las Vegas trip that day and had withdrawn $680,000 out of a joint account before taking the vacation.

The Lampkins, married for five years, then went to Chattanooga, Tenn. Polly Lampkin said she was taken against her will, while Ronnie Lampkin said she went voluntarily. She left the hotel and caught a flight back to Jackson. On Oct. 30, Polly Lampkin filed an affidavit against her husband alleging aggravated assault, for which he posted a $5,000 bond, and one week later she filed kidnapping charge related to the Chattanooga trip. Lampkin posted a $25,000 bond for that charge.

In December, Lampkin was arrested in Jackson. Polly Lampkin said she had exited off Interstate 55 onto Pearl Street when she noticed a Cadillac Escalade, similar to that of her husband’s, turned around and started following her. Ronnie Lampkin then reportedly caught up with her and pointed a “silver handgun” in her direction. The police report said Polly Lampkin then turned onto Jefferson Street in attempt to lose her husband, but he caught up with her again at State and South streets, forcing her off the road and damaging several cars in the process.

Jesse Robinson, Precinct 2 commander with the Jackson Police Department, said no one was injured, but noted that a silver Charter Arms .38 caliber revolver was recovered from Lampkin’s SUV. After being jailed in Jackson, Lampkin was transferred to Vicksburg, where the first charges were filed.

Arthur said it has not been determined when the case will be presented to a grand jury, but the next Warren County Grand Jury will convene Jan. 28. Charges filed in Jackson would be presented to a Hinds County grand jury.