Illegal immigrant indicted in Alabama waitress murder at Knox motel

Posted: 9:16 AM Apr 8, 2009
Last Updated: 10:44 AM Apr 8, 2009
Reporter: Brian Gregory
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Valentino Vasquez Miranda

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- An illegal immigrant working maintenance at a West Knoxville motel has been indicted on charges he broke into a guest's room, raped and killed her, and dumped her body into the Clinch River in September of 2009.

A Knox County grand jury indicted Valentino Vasquez Miranda, 20, Tuesday on charges of first degree murder, felony murder, aggravated burglary, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape, and abuse of a corpse in connection with the murder of Jennifer Lee Hampton, 21.

Hampton was staying at the Days Inn on Lovell Road on September 20th last year when according to documents filed by police in the case, Miranda, who was a housekeeper for Days Inn, allegedly used a key card to gain access to the room.

He allegedly raped Hampton, strangled her, then dumped her body into the Clinch River. Her body was found a week later.

Hampton had been in town to help open a restaurant in West Knoxville. She was from Alabama.

Miranda was arrested on the day police were called to the hotel to investigate Hampton's disappearance. He was in possession of what police said was a fake social security card.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents did not charge the motel's managers with employing an illegal immigrant saying the managers acted in good faith in hiring the man.

Miranda is being held on a $1,000,000 bond. New court dates have not yet been set.

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