Woman charged with kidnapping two men in Murray County, blowtorch used

Tapanga Slaton

A Murray County woman faces charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault and terroristic threats and acts after being arrested for taking two men hostage with a blowtorch.

According to a Murray County Sheriff's Office incident report, a deputy responded on Saturday around 7:52 p.m. to a possible hostage situation at 910 A.J. Keith Road in Chatsworth. The caller said a man named James Hampton was being held "against his will" by a woman named Tapanga, who was Tapanga Summerrain Slaton. The deputy arrived and made contact with Hampton, 38, and another man named Randall Lawson, 38. The report said Hampton "was clearly upset" and "had tears in his eyes and running down his face, his hands were shaking and ... inability to talk without getting upset."

Hampton said he went to Lawson's house, where he had been staying, to pick up "some stuff." He said Slaton told him he could come in and get the items. He said when he walked into Lawson's room, Slaton began "yelling and accusing him of stealing and robbing her sister." He said she took his car keys from him and told him he wasn't leaving. He said she then grabbed a yellow blowtorch and started accusing both men and threatened to "blow this house up." He said she demanded the men take her to where a third man had taken her things.

Lawson said he had been sleeping and when he awoke because of the yelling, Slaton was holding the blowtorch.

Hampton said when they got into a vehicle Slaton continued to hold the blowtorch on them. The men said Lawson began flashing the vehicle's lights "at passing cars in (an) attempt to get help." Slaton's sister was driving past and the sister tried "to calm" Slaton. That's when Lawson said he ran to a neighbor's for help.

Hampton told the deputy he "feared for his life." Lawson said he was "in shock." The deputy wrote that the blowtorch "was used offensively against both Randall and James and was likely to cause serious bodily injury to both victims."

Slaton, 23, of 910 A.J. Keith Road, was charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of terroristic threats and acts. She remained in the Murray County jail without bond Monday evening.

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