Familiar names appear on recent Powell Grand Jury indictments
The Powell County Grand Jury released 22 indictments covering 50 charges as the month of February got underway. An indictment charge is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Many of those who were indicted are familiar names and no stranger to the court system. But two names really stuck out and a few other cases had made headlines.
Jessica Charles, the Clay City woman who is waiting for her murder trial to begin, was indicted for tampering with physical evidence in a different case. Meanwhile, former Powell County Deputy Coroner Carl Wells, Jr. has been indicted once again for theft by deception.
Charles was arrested back in November following an alleged armed robbery in Clay City. At the time David Ratliff had been accused by Sheri Spencer, of Jeffersonville, of robbing her at gun point. Spencer described the jacket that Ratliff was supposedly wearing.
Police received information that Ratliff could be found at Charles’ apartment. When they entered the dwelling Ratliff was not there, but police saw the jacket. They obtained a search warrant to recheck the residence and found that the jacket had been placed behind the hot water heater, along with a realistic-looking air pistol.
Police say that Charles was the only one who had access to the apartment between the two searches thanks to a perimeter being set up to seal the scene.
Spencer was later arrested and charged for filing a false report when officers found out that she had allegedly given Ratliff money to buy drugs for her, but he did not. Charges against Ratliff were dismissed. However, Charles was charged with tampering with physical evidence.
Charles has been accused of the Feb. 19, 2010 beating death of her daughter Danika Charles. Charles was released on bond, after it was dropped from $775,000 cash to $150,000 cash or property.
She had been incarcerated since turning herself into authorities on March 31 of last year. She was required to wear a monitoring device and take part in random drug testing.
The bond reduction ruling came down on Dec. 7, 2010, the same day that Judge Fletcher and Herald agreed that a change of venue for the trial was necessary. She had been out of jail for 11 months before the latest incident. She has been in jail since the November incident. The murder trial is set to be held in Breathitt County.
Under the new indictment her bond has been set at $20,000 cash, but she is being held without bond on the murder charge following a judge’s ruling after the November incident.
Wells has faced similar theft by deception charges and was just recently before the court on those issues dating back two years. Wells had reportedly pleaded guilty to seven counts of misdemeanor theft by deception and two counts of felony theft by deception. But due to his health issues and a program that the court had ordered Wells to take part in was not yet completed, his sentencing has been delayed several times. The sentence when he was believed to have pleaded guilty was a total of 12 months, which was to be probated if he completed the program.
Wells pleaded guilty to nine counts of theft by deception on cold checks on April 21, 2010. As part of that plea deal, he would not receive any jail time, but had to complete counseling. His sentence was to be for one year, diverted for a year and he had to pay $2,220 in restitution.
However, health and medical issues have reportedly stopped Wells from completing the counseling portion of the agreement. The case has been continued twice before, once in July, 2010 and the other in December, 2010. Special prosecutor Keen Johnson petitioned the court to revoke Wells bond because he had not attended any counseling session. But medical records were provided showing he had been in the hospital for several ailments. More medical records were filed with the court and Powell Circuit Judge Fletcher ruled that the case would be brought back in June, 2011 at which time the counseling should be completed.
But in June, Wells disputed the claim that he had entered a guilty plea. However, on Sept. 7, 2011 Wells was given pretrial diversion for five years following his guilty plea. He was to enroll in a 12-Step Program and complete it or possibly face five years in prison, based on the prosecutor’s recommendation. As of Monday court records indicate that the prosecution has made a motion to revoke the diversion and have Wells serve five years stating that he has not taken part in the required program. That motion will be heard on March 7.
Under the new indictment Wells has been alleged to have “obtained $2,500” from a Stanton man in return for a “worthless check drawn by him.” Wells bond has been set at $40,000 full cash.
Another indictment that was released has some court watchers scratching their heads. The grand jury indicted a mother for unlawful transaction with a minor in the first degree. Police say that Kristin Cope, 38 today (Thursday, Feb. 9), “knowingly induced, assisted or caused a minor who was less than 16 years old to engage in illegal sexual activity” with a person who was 21 years old or older. According to the indictment Cope is also facing the charge of the failure to report dependency, neglect or abuse of a child that she knew or had probable cause to believe was being abused.
The indictment states that Cope knew that a minor child was engaging in sexual intercourse with Josh Booth and did not report it.
Booth, 23, was also indicted on four counts of rape third. That means that he allegedly engaged in sexual relations with someone who was not able to give consent. Under Kentucky law any person younger that 16 is considered not being able to legally give consent under these circumstances. The indictment reads that the offenses took place “on or before Sept. 20, 2011.”
Cope’s bond has been set at $25,000 full cash. While the bond for Booth has been set at $40,000 full cash.
The man, who broke into the BP Gas Station at the intersection of College Avenue and Main Street in Stanton on Dec. 30, has also been indicted. Ian F. Powell has been indicted for burglary third degree, theft by unlawful taking, possession of burglary tools, resisting arrest and alcohol intoxication. Powell, 29, of Clay City, was allegedly found standing on the drive-thru side of the building wearing a t-shirt around his face. He also had a pair of scissors and a flashlight.
Stanton Police Chief Kevin Neal ordered Powell to lie down on the ground several times, according Neal’s arrest report. Powell would not comply so Neal had to use his taser. Powell was then taken into custody.
Upon checking the building Neal found that the drive-thru window had been busted out. He also found that $64 worth of lottery tickets and a $4 pack of condoms was taken. Powell’s bond is set at $50,000 full cash.
Three people who live on the Powell-Wolfe County line have also been indicted for “knowingly” possessing two or more chemicals and/or having two more pieces of equipment used for the manufacturing of methamphetamines. The indictment claims that on Aug. 9, 2011 officers found a meth lab at the residence located in Slade. Barney Brewer, 49, Sarah Manning, 31, and Marlena Phillips, 25, were arrested at the scene.
Officers from the Kentucky State Police and Powell County law enforcement agencies used a technique called “knock and talk.” The technique is used to follow up on tips or complaints. The grand jury indicted all three on the same charge. Their bonds have been set at $95,000 cash.
Other indictments that were released are (bonds listed are full cash unless otherwise noted):
* Martina H. Stacy, (no birth date available), three counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument (counterfeit money), two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance first degree (oxycodone and methadone), two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance third degree (diazepam and clozaepan), bond set at $29,000;
* Christopher A. Pennington, 22, two accounts of assault third degree (police officer), bond set at $40,000;
* Eugene Shackelford, 36, possession of a controlled substance (oxycodone) and possession of a controlled substance (suboxin), bond set at $15,000;
* David Watkins, 26, sexual abuse second degree, bond set at $50,000;
* William Ingram, 28, receiving stolen property valued at $500 or more, bond set at $20,000;
* Thomas Keenon, 28, receiving stolen property (gun), bond is $35,000;
* Jennifer Campbell, 32, possession of a controlled substance first degree (oxycodone) and possession of drug paraphernalia, bond is $25,000;
* Teresa Winburn, 38, identity theft, bond set at $30,000;
* Brandy Browning, 29, nine counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument second degree (checks), bond is $30,000;
* Matthew Conley, (no birth date available), criminal possession of a forged instrument second degree (check), bond is $15,000;
* John Paul King, 26, two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument second degree (checks), bond is $15,000;
* Kyle O’Hair, (no birth date available), three counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument (checks), bond is $25,000; and
* Doyle Conner, 35, burglary third degree and theft by unlawful taking valued over $500, bond is set at $35,000.