How a sweet potato helped Massachusetts police crack a cold case murder
A murder-accused allegedly used a sweet potato as a silencer to carry out a 2011 gangland-style execution in Cape Cod that closely mirrors a plotline from The Wire, prosecutors say.
Devarus Hampton, 40, was arrested last week for the cold case murder of Todd Lampley in Hyannis, Massachusetts, according to the Barnstable Police Department.
At his arraignment on Monday, exactly 12 years to the day after Lampley was killed, prosecutors said they had tied Hampton to the killing after matching his DNA to a sweet potato found at the scene.
The use of the root vegetable to muffle the fatal shots, which were fired as Lampley’s girlfriend, her mother and another man were in the house, may have been inspired by the HBO drama The Wire, according to The Cape Cod Times.
“There’s also a sweet potato used as a silencer on the TV show,” First Assistant District Attorney Jessica Elumba told the court, according to the news outlet.
Prosecutors believe that the murderer may have tapped on the window to get Lampley’s attention, which echoes a story line in the Baltimore-based crime show.
Investigators also found a cellphone registered in the name of Marlo Stanfield, the name of a fictional narco trafficking kingpin in The Wire, at the murder scene.
When asked about the similarities, Ms Elumba told ABC News in an interview: “It’s an interesting fact pattern.”
Mr Hampton was wearing a GPS monitor for a separate crime which also placed him at the murder scene, Ms Elumba said in court.
Three casings were found at the crime scene next to the sweet potato. A gun that matched the casings was located in a nearby pond in March 2011, the court was told.
Prosecutors declined to say why it had taken 12 years to bring murder charges in the case.
The Cape Cod Times reported that Mr Hampton, of Mashpee, Massachusetts, had previously linked Lampley to the 2007 murder of Jacques Sellers during a 2010 murder trial.
Lampley had been living near the Hyannis home where Sellers, 18, died after being struck by a stray bullet, the outlet stated.
Lampley was not charged in relation to the killing. Julian Green was found guilty of second-degree murder, while another suspect Anthony Russ was acquitted.
At the trial, Lampley reportedly admitted having disagreements with two brothers who lived at the address where Sellers was killed.
Police dogs also led officers to Lampley’s home on the night of the shooting, according to reports.