Thursday, June 09, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...6-10-'11
- A Pike County Grand Jury has indicted Jeffery Lowe, Randy Thomas, Cynthia Ryan, and Shannon Turner on murder and robbery charges in the death of Millard Thornhill. Officials say, on May 19th, Thornhill was shot to death and then his home in Hatfield was set on fire.
- Just weeks before his trial was set to begin, Floyd County Commonwealth Attorney Brent Turner says Tony Ray Tackett of Printer pleaded guilty Monday to murder in the death of 56 year old Margaret Hall. Police say Hall was raped and strangled, and her body was found April 1, 2006 off of a strip mine road on Big Branch in the Harold Community of Floyd County. Tackett was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
- At the request of Attorney General Jack Conway's office, Letcher County Circuit Court Judge Samuel Wright granted a temporary restraining order Thursday and appointed a receiver to oversee the finances and day-to-day operations of the Golden Years Rest Home in Jenkins. Wright said a receiver was necessary because Golden Years was unable to account for a "significant amount of personal funds of its residents" either because that money was misappropriated or because there were no records detailing what happened to some residents' money. The personal care home, which is licensed to care for 44 residents, has been the subject of multiple state censures for its failure to protect residents. In January, Jonah Tackett, who was overseeing the day-to-day operations at Golden Years, said some of the allegations were misstated or overblown.
- Prestonsburg police say, early Wednesday morning, they found blood all over the Jenny Wiley Liquor store parking lot. Investigators say 23 year old Johnni Watts and 30 year old Mark Horne were attacked in the Village parking lot in Lancer. Prestonsburg Police Assistant Chief Bryan Hall says Mark Horne appeared to be struck several times in the head and all over. The victims, who are in critical condition in a West Virginia hospital, say someone attacked them with a baseball bat.
- Seven people were indicted Thursday in an Oweley County drug ring. According to federal court documents, in April and May, Donald W. Terry, Thomas Little and Kristi Rae Davis made trips to Miami, Florida to get pills for Marvin and Jason Todd Reed of Booneville. Terry told authorities he met 40 year old Elisa H. Alston seven or eight times in April and May and she sold him 2,000 to 3,000 Oxycodone pain pills each time to bring back to Kentucky. The alleged conspiracy unraveled after Georgia police stopped Little and Davis on Interstate 95, near Brunswick, on May 15th and found 3,278 oxycodone pills in Little's pickup truck. Little agreed to cooperate with police. Federal agents arrested the Reeds on May 17th when they came to pick up the pills. Jerell Hughes Jr., a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in London, posed as Little's son and talked by telephone with Alston, arranging to meet her at a Walmart parking lot in Miami Gardens on June 1st to buy 5,000 pain pills and 2,000 Xanax pills. Alston came to the meeting with 44 year old George Darden, whom she described as the source of the pills. They were both arrested. Each of the seven faces up to 20 years if convicted, or 30 years for those who have a prior felony drug conviction. The Owsley County residents have pleaded not guilty.
- Police in Harlan County have arrested Tim Turner and Rachel Osborne and charged them with first degree murder, robbery, and kidnapping in the death of 58 year old Stephen Gibson, who was found dead in his home last Friday.
- Jason Daniels and Laura Harmon, two Martin County parents are charged with endangering the welfare of a minor after police say their children were left alone in a hot car Tuesday while they went into Evans Pawn Shop. Deputies say the two young boys had poured water on the two month old baby to cool her off.
- Thursday, Jefferson Circuit Judge James Shake sentenced Said (sy-EED') Biyad, a Somali immigrant from Louisville who was convicted in an April bench trial, to life without parole for killing his four children and attacking his wife. Prosecutors argued that Biyad was a "possessive, angry man" who slit the throats of his children, ages 2 through 8, following an argument with his wife in 2006. Defense attorneys had argued that Biyad was mentally ill and not responsible for his actions.
- The U.S. Army Armor School is putting the finishing touches on its yearlong move from Fort Knox, where it has been located for 71 years. The school will case its flags Friday at the post as the last remaining parts shift to their new home at Fort Benning, Georgia. The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure announcement directed that by September of this year the armor and cavalry training mission would no longer be at Fort Knox, while increasing the post's population by almost 5,000 with incoming organizations. Some of the courses taught at Fort Knox have moved to Fort Benning during the past year.
- Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari has been nominated for a regional Emmy award for his role in a telethon for earthquake relief in Haiti. WKYT-TV submitted 12 people, including Calipari, as part of its entry for the Hoops for Haiti telethon. The Kentucky team participated in the telethon, which raised more than $1.3 million for earthquake relief in Haiti. President Barack Obama phoned the team to thank them. The program is one of four nominees in the special achievement for community service category in the Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards competition. Winners will be announced July 30th. Other nominees in the category include work by Louisville station WHAS; a program on autism by WCMH in Columbus, Ohio; and a pet-themed special produced by Cincinnati company Blind Squirrels Production Group for Kroger and Nestle Purina.
- Former college students with at least 90 credit hours are eligible for a Kentucky program that helps adults get their education back on track. The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education says in its first three years, Project Graduate has helped 492 former students complete their bachelor's degrees. The program is a collaborative effort between the council and the state's public universities. Each campus program has an advocate who specializes in working with adult students and their unique needs. Special incentives that are offered include free applications, priority enrollment, after-hours intake, and academic and career advising, although incentives vary by university.
- A father and son from Kentucky face several years behind bars after pleading guilty to their roles in a large marijuana-growing operation in Iowa. Eugene Cecil Burnett and Kelly Eugene Burnett of Monticello, Ky. were taken into custody after entering guilty pleas in federal court in Cedar Rapids on Monday to conspiracy to grow or attempt to grow over 100 marijuana plants. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison. Prosecutors say the Burnetts admitted they were unloading marijuana to plant in a cornfield in 2008 when the field's owner approached and they drove off. Investigators seized hundreds of marijuana plants from the ditch where the truck was parked and later from the truck, which was eventually stopped on Interstate 80.
- A central Kentucky man involved in a fatal car chase has pleaded guilty to murder and other charges. Brandon Lee Jessie entered guilty pleas Tuesday in Hardin Circuit Court to a total of nine charges in the case. He had been scheduled to go to trial June 15th. Police say Jessie was fleeing from officers in a stolen Mitsubishi Outlander last year when he ran a red light and crashed into another vehicle, killing its driver, James Fentress of Elizabethtown. Prosecutors are recommending a 35-year prison sentence. Jessie will be formally sentenced June 21st. Defense attorney Kathryn Thomas declined to comment, citing pending theft charges against her client in Barren County.
- Three new members have been appointed to the Kentucky Arts Council board. They are Carla Bass Miller, a community volunteer from Louisville; John S. Hockensmith, a professional photographer, author and artist from Georgetown; and Roanne Victor, also a community volunteer from Louisville who previously served on the board from 2001 to 2005. Governor Steve Beshear made the appointments, along with reappointing Zev Buffman for another four-year term.
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