Local News 2-22-2013

Conviction Upheld in Martin County Murder

The Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of an eastern Kentucky man in a case that went unsolved for eight years before an arrest. The high court Thursday found no cause to grant 30-year-old Jimmy Cornette Jr. a new trial in the 2002 death of Patrick Blackburn in Martin County. In writing for the court, Justice Mary Noble wrote that there was no proof of pretrial publicity tainting potential jurors in the case nor any reason to delay the trial. Cornette was convicted of killing Blackburn on June 23, 2002. Police said Cornette and two other men killed Blackburn over a drug debt. All three were arrested in 2010. They were sentenced to life in prison.

KSP Investigating Armed Robbery in Floyd Co.

According to a news release from the KSP in Pikeville, on Saturday February 15, 2013 at 10:32 P.M. Post 9 Pikeville received a call of an Armed Robbery at V.I.P. Fuels in the Grethel community of Floyd County. Information obtained at the scene indicates that an unidentified male entered the business wearing a ski mask and a blue hooded shirt. The unidentified male brandished a weapon, demanded cash from the clerk and then fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. The unidentified male was described as approximately 5'6'' tall. This incident remains under investigation by KSP Detective Kevin Newsome. Anyone with information is asked to contact KSP Post 9, Pikeville at 1-800-222-5555 or (606) 433-7711.

Former Olive Hill Mayor Indicted on Drug Charge

A Carter County grand jury has indicted the former mayor of Olive Hill. Danny Sparks was arrested on November 28 after police said he sold marijuana to an undercover officer near Olive Hill Elementary. Sparks was charged with felony trafficking marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, along with a violation of having an open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle. Following his arrest, Sparks resigned as mayor. Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted Sparks on one count of trafficking marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. Sparks will be arraigned on the felony charge next month.

KSP Continuing Search For Pike Co. Inmate, Who Walked Away From Work Detail

KSP in Pikeville are continuing their search for an inmate, who walked away from a work detail with the Pike Co. Jail. The Pike County Detention Center told KSP in Pikeville, 24 year old Jeremiah Young was on work release on Thursday February 14 and had walked away during his scheduled work release.  Young was last seen wearing green pants with inmate written on them. Young is described as 6' tall, 160 pounds, Brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jeremiah Young is asked to contact Kentucky State Police at (606) 433-7711 OR 1-800-222-5555. This incident remains under investigation by KSP Trooper Jamie Rose.

Grand jury will hear case where a man had a gun in nursing home parking lot

A grand jury is set to hear the case of a Prestonsburg man who allegedly carried a gun outside a nursing home. Earlier this month, police say Philip Baldridge was going through construction tools outside the Riverview Nursing Home. The construction foreman told him to leave. Baldridge left but came back with a rifle. Police say he never directly threatened anyone, but they say he was acting recklessly with the weapon.

JCSO Awarded Grant for Drug/Alcohol Safety Program

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office was recently awarded another mini grant by The KENTUCKY AGENCY FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE POLICY (also known ASAP.) Numerous items were purchased to aid in the Sheriff’s Office’s very own D.A.S.E. Program (Drug Alcohol Safety Education). Items purchased included various drug and alcohol awareness posters and charts," clever-catch balls” with various topics and questions printed on them for student participation. A “Roll-a-Roll” game for role play, which involves making the right choices and decisions, as well as character development. A “Spin the Bottle “ game for student interaction, that teaches the dangers of alcohol abuse. A "Wheel of Misfortune" game to get students involved while learning the dangers of drugs, inhalants, and alcohol abuse. “Tumble and Teach” dice used for student interaction and discussion on numerous life topics. A "Drug, Tobacco, and Alcohol" and "The Choice Is Yours" life situation cards for interacting with students in a fun way, while giving students real life situations and questions to answer. This aids in helping children learns to make the right choices in life. These can also be utilized into bullying/cyber-bulling programs. These items, as well as items received in a previous grant, will be used in the area schools and communities to help educate children.

State Senate Passes Bill To Raise Dropout Age To 18

The Senate has passed its own version of legislation that would require students to stay in school until they're 18, up from the current dropout age of 16. The vote was 36-2 Thursday, a week after the House unanimously passed a similar proposal. Each chamber will consider the other's legislation. Both bills would give local school districts the power to raise the compulsory school age to 18. Proponents of both bills have said a high school diploma greatly increases a person's quality of life. Critics have said the requirement would be unfunded and counterproductive. They said it could disrupt classes by forcing students who want to drop out to stay in school.