LOCAL NEWS

WSIP News 7-21-2017

 

Floyd Co Murder Trial Continues

The murder trial of Ronald and Loretta Wright in Floyd Co. Circuit Court continues. 67 year old Ronald Wright has been charged with murder in the shooting death of 54 year old Famer Halbert back in March 2013 and injuring Halbert’s wife Lorene. Ronald’s wife Loretta Wright is also facing a charge of complicity to commit murder. According to police reports, the Wrights had been visiting with Famer Halbert and his wife Lorene before the shooting occurred. Mrs. Halbert was also shot and wounded during a struggle after the shooting. Police say seven of the Halberts’ grandchildren were also located at the residence at the time of the shooting.

Lorene Halbert took the stand on Wednesday morning and told the jury what she said happened the night her husband was shot. Halbert said Ronald and Loretta Wright got to the Halbert's home around 5:30 in the afternoon and stayed about 30 minutes the night of the shooting. Halbert testified that said she and her sister, Loretta Wright, were talking when Ronald and Loretta decided to leave. Lorene Halbert recalled before Ronald Wright left he asked to go to the bathroom and moments later she heard a gunshot come from the bedroom. Halbert said as she made her way to the bedroom Ronald Wright came toward her with a gun pointed in her direction and believed he wanted to kill her. She said Ronald Wright shot her in the arm and that's when she began fighting with Wright to keep him from shooting other people inside the home. Halbert said Loretta Wright was in the kitchen with a silver gun in her hand. Lorene and Famer Halbert, as well as Ronald Wright, were all shot, though Lorene Halbert told attorneys she did not know how Wright got shot. The trial continues in Floyd Circuit Court.


Shot Fired During a Fight in Martin Co.

According to the Martin Co. Sheriff’s Dept. a West Virginia man was arrested earlier this week in Martin Co. after firing a shot into the air during a fight at Dempsey Apartments. Arrested was 24 year old Cody Grant Marcum from Crum, W.Va. Crum is alleged to have fired a shot from a 25 automatic handgun into the air to break up a fight. Deputies say Crum was staying with his girlfriend, who allegedly was in a fight with some other people. Witnesses told authorities Marcum never pointed the gun at anyone, but Sheriff Kirk said anytime you fire a shot around people, even if it’s up into the air, it’s serious. Marcum was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon and he did not have a permit. Sheriff John Kirk said this is the latest incident in an escalating pattern his office has responded too at the low-income apartment complex. Sheriff Kirk said he has talked with the management at the complex and reportedly told them they need to get a handle on this and start evicting people.


Police Continue Search for Man Accused of a Shooting in Floyd Co

Kentucky State Police are continuing their search for a man involved in a shooting Saturday morning in Floyd Co. The incident occurred during the morning hours of Saturday, July 15, 2017. The preliminary investigation indicated that the victim and Toby Akers, 41 of Martin, were involved in an altercation at Branham’s Creek in the Grethel community of Floyd Co. Akers shot the victim and fled the scene. The victim was transported to Pikeville Medical Center with potential life-threatening injuries.   A warrant was obtained on Toby Akers for Assault 1st Degree and Possession of a Handgun by a Convicted Felon. An arrest has not yet been made, and Troopers continue to search for Akers. If anyone has any information regarding the location of Akers, please call the Kentucky State Police Post 09 at (606) 433-7711. Callers can remain anonymous. This incident remains under investigation by Trooper Jimmy Anderson.


New BSCTC President Announced

Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Dr. Jay Box announced the new president for Big Sandy Community and Technical College on Wednesday. Dr. Sherry Zylka, who is currently the provost of Wayne Co Community College District in Detroit, will take over the college's top spot. According to a news release from KCTCS, she has served in various higher education leadership positions including dean of College Centers and Workforce Development and Continuing Education at Schoolcraft College in Livonia and Garden City, Michigan. Zykla earned an Ed.D. from the University of Texas at Austin specializing in higher education administration, community college leadership program. She earned a master’s degree in education administration from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Michigan. She also earned two associate degrees from Schoolcraft College. Zylka begins her duties as BSCTC president on October 1st.


State Government News

* Governor Matt Bevin made appointments to the Statewide Advisory Council for Vocational Rehabilitation. Sharon Kay Fields, of Salyersville, a retired nurse, will represent individuals with disabilities and serve for a term expiring May 20, 2020. Zella Faye Wells, of Paintsville, a retired assistant superintendent for Johnson County schools, represents individuals with severe disabilities and has been reappointed for a term expiring May 20, 2020. The Statewide Advisory Council for Vocational Rehabilitation reviews, analyzes, and advises the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation on setting standards and the ability to assist Kentuckians with disabilities to achieve suitable employment and independence.


Water + Rest + Shade = Survival in Extreme Heat

Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable. The body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating isn't enough. Body temperature can rise to dangerous levels if precautions are not taken such as drinking water frequently and resting in the shade or air conditioning. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention and can result in death. Heat is a silent killer, unlike such hazards as damaging winds or flooding, many people often don't realize they are in trouble until they need medical assistance.

Here’s some tips to help with working outside in the heat and humidity.

* Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
* Rest in the shade to cool down.
* Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
* Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
* Keep an eye on fellow workers.

Industries most affected by heat-related illness are: construction; trade, transportation and utilities; agriculture; building, grounds maintenance; landscaping services; and support activities for oil and gas operations. Remember "Water, Rest, Shade."


Johnson Co. "Operation Backpack"

Summer break is almost over for kids here in Johnson Co. Many throughout the community are collecting backpacks as part of helping students go back to school. "Operation Backpack" has already collected more than 300 backpacks for students and volunteers are hoping to collect at least 200 more backpacks. The backpacks will be distributed at Ready-Fest which will be on Tuesday, July 25 at Highland Church of Christ Life Center 9 AM – 12 PM. Ready-Fest is hosted by Johnson Co. Family Resource & Youth Service Centers and Local Community Partners. To donate backpacks, you can drop them off at the Johnson Co Sheriff's Office or for more information call your School Family Resource Center.

 

 

WSIP News 7-20-2017

 

Man Killed in a Perry Co ATV Crash

According to information out of Perry Co., officials say one man was killed following an ATV crash. The crash happened just after 5 p.m. Tuesday on Pigeon Roost Road in the Pigeon Roost community of Perry Co. The rider reportedly went over an embankment. A medical helicopter was requested, but crews ended up transporting the victim, who was identified as 58-year-old Benny Smith. He was pronounced deceased at Hazard ARH. The investigation into what led to the crash is ongoing.


Pulaski Man Charged with Child Sex Exploitation

Kentucky State Police has charged a Pulaski Co. with child sex exploitation crimes. Brandon R. Hoskins, 24, was arrested Tuesday as the result of an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children investigation. A search warrant was executed at a Somerset home and equipment used to commit the crime was seized and taken to KSP’s forensic laboratory for examination. Hoskins is charged with 15 counts of distribution and one count of possession of matter portraying a sex performance by a minor. Each charge is a Class-D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. He was lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center. The investigation is ongoing.


Logan Co Man Charged after Allegedly Holding Woman at Gunpoint

A Logan Co. man wanted in connection to allegedly holding a woman at gunpoint for more than an hour has been arrested and charged. Officials say the incident happened on Friday, July 14 in the Kistler area of Logan County. According reports, Logan Co, W.Va Sheriff's Deputies found 28 year-old Robert Earnest just before 2AM Wednesday morning at an apartment in Man, W.Va. Deputies say he tried to jump out of a window, but was unsuccessful. According to original reports, Deputies say Earnest allegedly broke into his ex-girlfriend's home last Friday, assaulted a man then held her at gunpoint for nearly an hour and a half.


Man Wanted for Tire Thefts in Ashland

Ashland Police are looking for a man taking tires from someone’s property in the city. Video surveillance captured photos of the incident on Friday, July 14. Officers say the man responsible was driving a green extended cab Chevrolet Silverado. Anyone with information is asked to call Ashland Officer W. Horn, the silent witness tip line at (606)329-1771 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Teen Awaiting Manslaughter Trial Caught Intoxicated in Public

A Greenup Co. teenager awaiting trial in a death from 2015 was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with alcohol intoxication in a public place. According to reports, 19-year-old Kelly Dummitt was arrested in Vanceburg, Ky. Dummitt was charged in 2015 with first-degree manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Mattie Conley. Reports say Dummitt was sitting behind the wheel of a parked car near a gas station when someone called in a complaint. When Police arrived, several people were in the car, and Dummitt had bloodshot and glassy eyes, with a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. They say they saw an open container of Jack Daniel's Watermelon Punch in the console.

Back in September of 2015, investigators say Mattie Conley was riding on the back of an ATV with James Ratliff when Dummitt, Ratliff's girlfriend, became irate and started chasing them in her car. The pair originally reported that Conley jumped off the ATV in fear, but investigators say after they reconstructed the scene, they did not find anything to indicate that. They say Ratliff admitted to moving Conley's body. Investigators say he also washed blood off his hands and told witnesses not to tell anyone. Both Dummitt and Conley were charged with one count of first-degree manslaughter, two counts of tampering with physical evidence, and one count of tampering with a witness. The two suspects pleaded not guilty. Ratliff's trial is set for October, and Dummitt's is set for January. Dummitt was 17 at the time of Conley's death, but she will be tried as an adult.


State Government

Local officials will hear an appeal from Republican Gov. Matt Bevin about the value of a home he purchased from a friend and campaign donor. Bevin and his wife purchased the home in March for $1.6 million. Jefferson County officials say the home is worth $2.9 million. The discrepancy has prompted an ethics watchdog group and a Democratic state lawmaker to file ethics complaints. Bevin appealed the valuation. Wednesday, a three-member appeals board with the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator's office will hear that appeal. The board is appointed by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat. The original property was 19 acres. Bevin purchased the house and 10 acres from Neil Ramsey, a friend who owns an investment company. Bevin appointed Ramsey to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees.

 

WSIP News 7-19-2017

 

Family, Friends Searching for a Johnson Co. Woman

Family and friends are searching for a Johnson Co. woman who went missing following an accident over the weekend. According to numerous facebook post, as well as family members, Heather Dawn Charles was last seen Saturday, July 15, 2017 at Cabell Huntington Hospital at around 11:00 PM after she was reportedly in an serious accident on US 23 in Lawrence Co. on that same night. Family members say they did not find out that she was in this accident until Monday, July 17. The only information family members say they received was that Charles allegedly signed herself out of the ER and walked out the door and no one has heard from her since. Family and friends ask that if anyone has any information or if anyone might have seen Heather Dawn Charles, please call 606-367-7469. A missing person’s report has been filed with the Huntington, W.Va Police Dept.


Police Continue Search for Man Accused of a Shooting in Floyd Co

Kentucky State Police are continuing their search for a man involved in a shooting Saturday morning in Floyd Co. The incident occurred during the morning hours of Saturday, July 15, 2017. The preliminary investigation indicated that the victim and Toby Akers, 41 of Martin, were involved in an altercation at Branhams Creek in the Grethel community of Floyd Cou. Akers shot the victim and fled the scene. The victim was transported to Pikeville Medical Center with potential life-threatening injuries.   A warrant was obtained on Toby Akers for Assault 1st Degree and Possession of a Handgun by a Convicted Felon. An arrest has not yet been made, and Troopers continue to search for Akers. If anyone has any information regarding the location of Akers, please call the Kentucky State Police Post 09 at (606) 433-7711. Callers can remain anonymous. This incident remains under investigation by Trooper Jimmy Anderson.


Trial Underway in Floyd Co. Murder Case

Testimony got underway Tuesday in the murder trial of Ronald and Loretta Wright in Floyd Co. Circuit Court following jury selection. 67 year old Ronald Wright is charged with murder in the shooting death of 54year old Famer Halbert back in March 2013 and injuring Halbert’s wife Lorene. Ronald’s wife Loretta Wright is also facing a charge of complicity to commit murder. According to police reports, the Wrights had been visiting with Famer Halbert and his wife Lorene before the shooting occurred. Mrs. Halbert was also shot and wounded during a struggle after the shooting. Police say seven of the Halberts’ grandchildren were also located at the residence at the time of the shooting.



Pike Co Coal Mine Death Blamed on Safety Lapses

Federal regulators say an accident that killed a coal miner in Pike Co happened because a conveyor belt didn't have adequate safety guards. According to The Lexington Herald-Leader, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration said in its report that 43-year-old Ray Hatfield Jr. was killed on Jan. 26 when his clothing got tangled in bolts on a roller shaft and he was pulled into the moving equipment. He had been shoveling loose coal from under the beltline. MSHA says the mine operator, R&C Coal LLC, also didn't have effective measures in place to ensure employees shut off the conveyor belt before working close to it. Regulators cited R&C for several violations, including having inadequate guards around the beltline. Furthermore, MSHA says the mine operator failed to conduct proper safety checks.


Laurel Co Man Charged with Sexually Abuse

A Laurel Co husband and wife are behind bars after police say the pair abused a minor. According to reports, Police say the young girl told them that Robert Smith sexually abused her. She said he pulled down her shirt and touched her inappropriately. The minor also said Smith's wife, Candice Smith, locked her outside and denied her food and water. Robert Smith is charged with first-degree sexual abuse of a child under 12-years-old. Candice Smith faces a charge of criminal abuse in the second degree.


Man Facing Multiple Charges after Beating His Wife following an Argument

A W.Va man is facing multiple charges after his wife told police he beat her and said he was going to kill her. Ancel Williamson, 35, of Logan, W.Va is charged with kidnapping, escape, domestic battery, domestic assault and malicious wounding. According to the criminal complaint, officers received a complaint from WVSP for a welfare check at a home in the 500 block of Dingess Street in Logan. When officer’s arrived on scene, Williamson said he was at the home with his wife. After police asked to speak with his wife, Williamson led police to the bedroom of the home where his wife was found with severe bruising to her face and shoulder. Both Williamson and his wife told officers she had a seizure and hit her head on a table as she fell. When the officer spoke to the woman alone, she told police the two began arguing about the dishes not being done. The woman then told police Williamson then began to repeatedly punch her in the face and continued beating her for 5 hours. According to the criminal complaint, Williamson also said he would kill her. The woman told police she tried to leave the home and Williamson got in front of her and shoved her with both hands. She was taken to a local hospital to receive care for her injuries. While at the Logan County courthouse, Williamson tried to take off on foot. He was caught and put in handcuffs. Williamson was then taken to Southwestern Regional Jail where he is being held on a $25,000 bond.



WSIP News 7-18-2017

 

Johnson County Fiscal Court Meeting 7-17-17

The Johnson County Fiscal Court met in special session on Monday afternoon. After regular approvals and transfers, the court approved an increase in the receipt and expenditure accounts on the sheriff's 2017 fiscal year budget. These increases were pertaining to a lake contract, KLEFPF, and the cost of returning a fugitive. The 2016 tax settlement statements from the sheriff's office were also approved. Judge Daniel expressed his appreciation to County Clerk Sallee Holbrook as the court approved her quarterly report. Also discussed at Monday's meeting, a conference call is set for this Wednesday regarding the sewer line project underway in Van Lear. Judge Daniel says the county is hoping to get that project back on track very soon.

Earlier this year, we learned that funding was secured to blacktop several Johnson County roads. The fiscal court announced on Monday that five of the roads had been blacktopped, and several others are awaiting their contractor. A bridge along Denver Branch appears to be washing out. Judge Daniel says the bridge is not dangerous, but some cosmetic work is certainly necessary. The cost of repairs on the bridge would likely be around $25,000. Gary McClure gave his monthly activity report for the previous month. McClure spoke highly of an exercise in Pikeville conducted in June by Kentucky Emergency Management. McClure reflected on the 2015 flooding when stressing the importance of this communication. The National Guard, State Police and several agencies were among Johnson County in participation at that event.

Trial Set To Begin For Man Accused Of Murdering Daughter's Boyfriend

According to reports from LEX 18 TV, The Rowan County man accused of murdering his daughter's boyfriend is set to begin trial this morning. In August of 2016, Investigators say Jimmy Adkins got into a fight with his girlfriend at a home in Morehead. During the altercation, police say Adkins left the home and returned a short time later to find the girl's father, Teddy Johnson waiting for him. Officials say that Johnson shot and killed Adkins. He has previously entered a not guilty plea. His trial is expected to begin at nine this morning.


Drowning of Bell County Toddler Investigated

A southeast Kentucky community is mourning the drowning death of a toddler. The Bell County Coroner says a two-year-old boy drowned in a private pool yesterday. He was taken to a hospital in Middlesboro, where he was pronounced dead. Officials say an autopsy will not be performed, but no foul play is suspected.


2 Injured in Motorcycle Crash

A motorcycle crash on Sunday morning in Pikeville sent 2 people to the hospital. It happened around 10 AM on US-23 in Pikeville. Several motorcycles were delayed in their Hillbilly Christmas In July ride taking place Sunday morning, as the northbound lanes of the highway were closed for about a half hour while crews cleared the scene.


2 Vehicle Crash in Lawrence County

Authorities in Lawrence County say one person had to be taken to the hospital after a 2-vehicle accident on Saturday night. It happened along US-23 near mile marker 27 in Lawrence County. There's no word on the identity of those involved in the crash.


Mother Reportedly Beats Daughter with Arm of Chair

A Floyd County woman has been arrested after she reportedly whipped her daughter with the arm of a chair. Police say they received the report on Thursday night from the Dixie Apartment complex. Sarah Marsillett reportedly whipped her 7-year-old daughter with the arm of the chair while her boyfriend held the girl down. Social services have been contacted. Marsillett has been charged with first-degree criminal abuse and has been lodged in the Floyd County Detention Center.


Mingo County Man Facing Drug Charges

A man is facing drug related charges following a drug bust at a home in Mingo County. 58-year-old Harm Daniels of Goodman Hollow in Mingo County has been arrested after deputies found over 200 pills in his home – with a street value of about $1,738. Daniels has been placed in the Southwestern Regional Jail on a $25,000 cash bond.


Inez Officials Considering Curfew for Minors

City officials in Inez are considering setting a curfew for minors. The Mountain Citizen reports Inez City Commissioner Dennis Hall along with Martin County Sheriff John H Kirk say they believe a curfew would stop minors from being out in the wee hours of the morning. No ages or hours have been suggested and no word on whether or not such a curfew would be implemented.


New Trails Open in Floyd County

Officials with the City of Prestonsburg were on hand on Saturday morning for a ribbon cutting ceremony for hiking and biking trails on Sugercamp Mountain. City officials have announced that over 30 miles of trails are now open to the public. Those involved with Jenny Wiley Park say they believe the utilization of trails will increase adventure tourism in the area, and hope to see further expansion of the trails in the future.