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Court date put off for Unicoi couple in moonshining case

March 29th, 2014 8:20 am by Brad Hicks

Court date put off for Unicoi couple in moonshining case

ERWIN — The couple accused of manufacturing moonshine behind their Unicoi home is scheduled to be back in court in the summer.

John D. Hampton and Jennifer W. Hampton, both of 260 Scioto Woods Court, were scheduled to appear in Unicoi County Sessions Court on Thursday, but their case was reset. They are now scheduled to appear in Sessions Court on June 12.

Both are charged with manufacture of an alcoholic beverage, possession of a moonshine still and animal cruelty.

On Jan. 10, officials with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department went to the Hamptons’ home to serve an arrest warrant on Jennifer Hampton for a violation of probation charge. Sheriff Mike Hensley previously said that while officers were on the scene, they noticed an outbuilding behind the home, and when they looked inside, observed a moonshine still in the outbuilding.

Hensley said investigators secured a search warrant for the outbuilding and cut the lock off the building. The Hamptons, who initially did not respond to law enforcement when they first arrived on the scene, were later found inside their home, Hensley said.

The police affidavit said John Hampton claimed ownership of the moonshine still. Officials also found illegal moonshine in the home, as well as activated mash and a heating and cooling source, officials said. The affidavit said John Hampton claimed ownership of the moonshine found in the home.

“A search of the residence resulted in the discovery of several gallons of finished whiskey, several five-gallon barrels with activated mash inside and also key whiskey ingredients to include but not limited to corn, barley, rye, yeast and sugar,” the affidavit said.

Hensley said 16 firearms were found inside the home, which were seized. He said officials also found a dead dog near the outbuilding, which appeared to be dead for several days and had possibly frozen to death.

Jennifer Hampton was arrested on the evening of Jan. 10, and John Hampton was arrested Jan. 14.

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