A woman is behind bars facing a felony charge of hindering prosecution for allegedly hiding a child abuse suspect from police after he physically assaulted a 17-year-old female over the weekend.
According to Oktibbeha County Jail records, 40-year-old Karla Hammond was booked on a single felony count of hindering prosecution on May 13.
The complaint filed in Starkville Municipal Court says Hammond is accused of hiding the suspect — who was confirmed as 18-year-old Leviticus Bell by the Starkville Police Department — in a closet under a blanket in her apartment on Louisville Street Sunday.
It’s unclear at this time how Hammond and Bell know one another.
The Starkville Daily News reported on Monday that Bell was arrested after officers responded to Brooksville Garden apartments on Everglade Avenue following a report of an assault.
Bell is accused of striking the teenage girl multiple times in the face with a closed fist and picking her up and violently slamming her to the ground causing her to sprain her knee.
Investigators then believe Bell slammed the victim’s head repeatedly into the side of the building, causing her to have a concussion.
An arrest warrant was obtained for Bell, who was taken into custody at the apartment complex on Louisville Street sometime after the incident.
SPD says the female was transported to OCH Regional Medical Center for evaluation and later released.
Sunday’s arrest was also not Bell’s first run-in with the law in 2019.
In January. Bell was arrested for hindering prosecution and rendering criminal assistance in a case involving a 17-year-old runaway.
Bell was charged after police say he intentionally hindered her discovery by deceiving detectives with false statements and messages that might have aided in finding the missing teenager.
In that case, the teen had been reported missing on New Year’s Day after not returning home from work and was located in good condition on Jan. 5.
Those found guilty of child abuse under Mississippi Code 97-5-39(2)(c) face a minimum five-year prison sentence and up to a maximum life sentence.