Local News 4-1-2013

KSP Investigating Armed Robbery at a Floyd Co. Business

According to a news release from the KSP in Pikeville, on Saturday March 30 at 10:19 P.M. Post 9 Pikeville received a call of an Armed Robbery at the Velocity Market in the Betsy Layne community of Floyd County. Information obtained at the scene indicated that an unidentified female entered the business, brandished a weapon and demanded cash. The unidentified female left the area on foot. The female was described as approximately 5' to 5'3'' tall, wearing black pants, tan coat, and a green shroud over her face. This incident remains under investigation by Kentucky State Police Detective Jason Dials. Anyone with information is asked to contact Kentucky State Police Post 9 at (606) 433-7711 or 1-800-222-5555.

Floyd Co. Murder Case Sent to Grand Jury

The Floyd County man accused of murdering a man in his sleep earlier this month appeared in Floyd County District Court Thursday for a preliminary hearing. Ronald Wright, 64, of Printer, is accused of killing Famer Halbert while Halbert slept at his home on March 12. Wright is charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted murder. According to KSP Det. Jason Dials, he testified witnesses told him that Ronald and Loretta Wright were visiting with Halbert’s wife, Lorene, for roughly a half hour before Ronald Wright asked to use the restroom. While Loretta Wright and Lorene Halbert spoke on the front porch, they heard a gunshot from inside the house. Ronald Wright allegedly met the two in the kitchen, and took aim and shot Lorene Halbert, who ducked behind Loretta Wright. Lorene Halbert was shot in the arm. A struggle then ensued over the weapon, at which time Ronald Wright was also shot. Family members have said that the Wrights blamed the Halberts for the death of their son, Matthew, in November. Dials testified that Famer Halbert was killed with a high caliber handgun, and that Ronald and Loretta Wright’s vehicle was searched and a box of .357 caliber pistol shells was found. Dials also testified that a bullet fragment was found by the Halbert family in the kitchen of the home three days after the shooting. Gunshot residue tests were taken on both the Wrights and the Halberts. District Judge Jimmy R. Marcum remanded the case to a grand jury. Loretta Wright appeared in court last week for a preliminary hearing in Floyd District Court. She is charged with complicity to commit attempted murder and complicity to murder, and the case against her was also sent to the grand jury. Ronald Wright is currently being lodged in the Floyd County Detention Center, with bail set at $1 million.

Woman Pleads Guilty in Murder Case

A woman has pleaded guilty to killing a man in Knott County in 2011. Shauna Slone was charged with murder, robbery and tampering with evidence after the death of 60-year old Ruby Slone. His body was found in a field in Mallie in November, 2011. She's expected to be sentenced May 9th.

Two Pike County men admit to taking part in workers' comp fraud scheme

Two Pike County men who employed contract coal miners have admitted taking part in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud a workers' compensation provider. Frelin Workman, 58, and Randy Lee Workman, 36, both of Belfry, pleaded guilty this week in federal court in West Virginia, according to a news release from Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for the southern part of that state. Frelin Workman and a partner, Jerome Edward Russell, 50, of Williamson, W. Va., operated a company called Aracoma Contracting LLC, which provided miners to coal companies in West Virginia on a contract basis. Randy Lee Workman operated a similar employee-leasing company called Christian Contracting. Both of the contracting companies were responsible for carrying workers' comp coverage on the miners, according to court documents. The two companies bought coverage through BrickStreet Mutual Insurance, the largest comp provider in West Virginia, according to the news release. The cost of comp insurance is based in part on the number of employees covered at a company. Both Frelin and Randy Lee Workman admitted paying a significant number of employees in cash to avoid the costs of employment taxes, workers' comp and unemployment insurance, court documents show. The federal government plans to confiscate $415,000 from Sargent, as well as a 2012 Dodge Ram pickup truck, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a Yamaha all-terrain vehicle. A fifth man involved in the scheme, Arthur J. White Jr., 60, of Lenore, W. Va., pleaded guilty to tax evasion and structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements. Frelin and Randy Lee Workman, Sargent and Russell face up to 25 years in prison. They are to be sentenced in July. White could be sentenced to up to 10 years.

Governor Names New Knott County Judge-Executive

Governor Steve Beshear has appointed a new judge-executive for Knott County. Zach Weinberg will fill the shoes of Randy Thompson, who went to prison in 2012 after being convicted of vote buying. Jamie Mosley is a magistrate who has been filling in as Knott County Judge-Executive for the last month. Zack Weinberg will complete Thompson’s term, which will be up next year.

Kentucky Power making plans to replace a generator

Kentucky Power is looking for a plan to replace how electricity is generated in the unit 1 generator at the Big Sandy Power Plant near Louisa. The generator currently burns coal for electricity and produces 278 megawatts of power in the Big Sandy region. Kentucky Power is looking for the most cost- effective replacement for unit 1 and is evaluating purchasing up to 250 megawatts of power from other sources. Unit 1 is scheduled for retirement in 2015.