Homeless Woman Dies from Beating on Skid Row

May 9, 2006

Los Angeles: Chief of Police William J. Bratton and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry of the 9th District, held a news conference this afternoon to bring attention to the death of a homeless woman on Skid Row.

On May 3, 2006, around 9 PM, Los Angeles police officers arrested parolee Gregory Hampton, 52, after he attacked a homeless woman who had been sleeping on the street near 5th Street and San Julian Street in Skid Row.

"Kristi Marie Morales’ murder highlights the plight of the homeless, and the danger they face every day, living, indeed, sleeping on the streets at night," said Chief Bratton.

Witnesses described seeing Hampton viciously attack 49-year-old Kristi Marie Morales, throwing her to the ground and nearly stomping her to death. Passersby intervened and pulled Hampton off Morales at least two times. The good Samaritans alerted a nearby police officer, who arrested Hampton.

Morales died from her injuries yesterday, and now Hampton will face murder charges. Hampton is a career criminal, with arrests dating back to 1970, mostly for property crimes. Hampton is "a person who refuses to play by the rules,” said Assistant Chief George Gascon.

Councilwoman Perry will ask the State Department of Corrections to put a moratorium on placing parolees, like Hampton, in the Skid Row area. "For years we have worked hard to bring attention to the plight of the homeless and to focus on getting vulnerable people that need our help into housing,” said Councilwoman Perry. "All the while, State Parole is using the same area as a preferred site for their parolees and losing track of their clients. This must stop now."

Captain Andrew Smith, commander of the Central Police Station, explained that on the night of Morales’ murder, officers had conducted a monthly walk through Skid Row to encourage the homeless into shelters. There were 82 beds in shelters for women in the downtown area, which went unfilled that night. Because of a recent 9th Circuit Court ruling, the police department has stopped enforcing a City Ordnance that prohibits sleeping on the sidewalk.

Photographs of Morales and Hampton are available from Media Relations Section.