Local News 8-23-2014


Pair Indicted in Martin County Triple Murder and Arson

The two Martin Co. people arrested for the murder of three people in Martin County, now are facing additional charges, after grand jury indictments were handed down on Thursday. According to the KSP, Jack D. Smith, 41, of Inez and Amanda Bowen, 26, also of Inez, have been charged with the murders of Tina Goble, 42, her granddaughter, Trinity, 8, and Cannie Johnson, 47, whose bodies were found in Goble’s burned out home in Inez early Saturday morning.

On Thursday a Martin County Grand Jury indicted Smith and Bowen on three counts each of murder/complicity, three counts each of robbery/complicity, and one count each of tampering with physical evidence/complicity. Smith was also charged with one count of arson, while Bowen was charged with being a persistent felony offender. Reports from the KSP say the three victims were shot and stabbed before the fire was started. Martin Co. Coroner Joe Mullins says preliminary autopsy results show each person was shot twice and stabbed multiple times. An arraignment date for Smith and Bowen has not been set and both are being held on a $5 million cash bond. A motive has not been released. The Kentucky State Police continues to investigate this crime. A fundraiser was started on GoFundMe.com, to help the family pay for funeral costs: http://www.gofundme.com/d52n1k.

Martin Co. Fair Board Members Plead Guilty to Misappropriating Funds

Two Martin Co. Fair Bd. members pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of misappropriating funds from the organization. Robin Denise Spence, 47, and Charles Spence, 59, both of Tomahawk, pled guilty to all charges against them during a hearing in Martin County Circuit Court Thursday. The two stole more than $90,000 in funds. Both were charged with one count diversion of charitable gaming funds for financial benefit over $300/complicity. Robin Spence was also charged with seven counts of diversion of charitable gaming funds for financial benefit over $300, and one count of theft by failure to make required disposition of property over $10,000, according to court documents.

As part of their pleas, prosecutors recommended a 20-year sentence for Robin and a 5-year sentence for Charles and both will be required to pay $91,000 in restitution to the Division of Charitable Gaming. $30,000 of that restitution must be paid before final sentencing next month. Investigators say the missing money came from bingo pull tab sales and other charitable events between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. The couple was originally indicted on the charges back in March.

ATVs and Motorcycle Stolen from Johnson County Dealership

According to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Dept. are investigating a recent theft of a local power sport dealership. The owners of M & M Powersports say someone stole two ATV's and a motorcycle from the shop. One ATV has been recovered in the Flat Gap area, where officials say it had been traded. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office does have a person of interest in the case. Anyone with information about the other two stolen items can contact the sheriff's office at (606) 789-3411.

JCSO Investigating Meat Thefts of Local Food Stores: Two Women Sought

The Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate recent thefts of meat from a local food store. According to video evidence, two women were seen stealing meat from at least two grocery stores in the Paintsville and Prestonsburg area. The video shows the pair concealing large quantities of meat and other merchandise in their purses. Sheriff Dwayne Price said his office after they were alerted by Paintsville Food City, who was robbed on Saturday. Upon further investigation, the two women first struck at the Prestonsburg Food City on July 15. Sheriff Price is asking the public for any information about these two women. Price said when caught, each will be charged with theft and shoplifting. If you have information you may contact the JCSO by calling (606) 789-3411. Sheriff Price says his office needs your information, not your name.

Kentucky Participating in National Effort to Reduce Impaired-Driving Fatalities

Law enforcement agencies around Kentucky are participating in a national effort to reduce impaired-driving fatalities. The campaign started last week and runs through Labor Day. It's called "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over." Kentucky State Police say the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 51 minutes across the U.S. Police say campaigns like the one going on now can reduce such fatalities by up to 20 percent. Kentucky recorded more than 5,500 alcohol-related crashes last year, resulting in 138 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries. The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety and Mobile Life Solutions last year came up with a free app to help fight drinking and driving. The app is called "Driver Sober Kentucky" and is available at http://www.DriveSoberKY.com.

Citizens National, Peoples Security agree to Merger

Citizens National Corporation, the holding company for Citizens National Bank, Paintsville, and Peoples Security Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for The Peoples Security Bank of Louisa, announced last week their agreement that Peoples Security be acquired by Citizens for approximately $663.15 per share in a merger involving Peoples Security and a Citizens subsidiary. The cash and note transaction is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval and is expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2015. The purchase price is subject to adjustment, up or down, based on Peoples Security’s shareholder’s equity at the closing.

Through its subsidiary, Citizens National Bank of Paintsville, Citizens operates 11 offices throughout Boyd, Carter, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Magoffin and Pike Counties. At June 30, Citizens had approximately $525 million in assets and $417 million in deposits.Through its subsidiary, The Peoples Security Bank of Louisa, Peoples Security operates two offices in Lawrence County. At June 30, Peoples Security had approximately $48 million in assets and $41 million in deposits. Frost Brown Todd LLC, of Louisville, served as legal counsel to Citizens National Corporation and VanAntwerp, Monge, Jones, Edwards & McCann, LLP, of Ashland, served as legal counsel to Peoples Security Bancorp, Inc.

Paintsville Lake to Host Open House

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Paintsville Lake will be hosting an open house to on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. for the public. Visitors can get a free tour inside the intake structure at Paintsville Dam and learn about how the dam helps reduce the negative impacts of flood damage. A Corps Water Safety Booth with free water safety items and related information will be located at the Mountain HomePlace, and a slide presentation about Paintsville Lake will also be available at the Corps Visitor Center for viewing. Corps team members will be on hand to answer questions, explain the role of the Corps in the community, and to help educate the public about the Corps mission. For more information, contact the Corps at 606-297-6312 or stop by the Project Office at Paintsville Lake.

Local News 8-21-2014


Second Person Charged with Murder in a Martin Co. Fire       

A 2nd person has been charged in the deaths of 3 Martin Co. residents who died in a house fire early Saturday morning. According to the Mountain Citizen newspaper in Inez, the Kentucky State Police in Pikeville has charged Amanda Bowen, 26, of Inez, with three counts of murder, one count of robbery and one count of tampering with evidence. Troopers first arrested Jack D. Smith, 41, of Inez on Saturday just a few hours after the bodies of Tina Goble, 42, her granddaughter Trinity, 8, and Tina's boyfriend, Cannie Johnson, 47, were found in Goble’s burned out home. Smith is also charged with three counts of murder, one count of robbery and one count of tampering with evidence.

Officials say the fire started early Saturday morning in Goble's home on Upper James Lane in Inez. All three were found inside when firefighters got to the scene. According to WSAZ, the arrest warrant for Amanda Bowen, the three victims were shot and stabbed and say Bowen stole various items from the home, including medications and jewelry. Martin County Coroner, Joe Mullins, says the preliminary autopsy results show that all three victims were shot twice and stabbed multiple times. Bowen is being held in Floyd County Jail on a $5 million cash bond and Smith remains in Big Sandy Regional Detention Center. The preliminary hearing for both Bowen and Smith is set for next Tuesday in Martin County.

JCSO Investigating Meat Thefts of Local Food Stores: Two Women Sought

The Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office are currently investigating recent thefts of meat from some local food stored. According to video evidence, two women were seen stealing meat from at least two grocery stores. The video apparently shows the pair concealing large quantities of meat and other merchandise in their purses. Sheriff Dwayne Price said his office after they were alerted by Paintsville Food City, who was robbed on Saturday. Upon further investigation, the two women first struck at the Prestonsburg Food City on July 15. Sheriff Price is asking the public for any information about these two women. Price said when caught, each will be charged with theft and shoplifting. If you have information you may contact the JCSO by calling (606) 789-3411. Sheriff Price says his office needs your information, not your name.

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Fire Destroys Abandoned Home in Lawrence Co

Lawrence Co. officials are trying to determine how an abandoned house caught fire. Reports indicate the fire took place about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 19 just off Ky. 1 in the Fallsburg community of Lawrence Co. Investigators say a trailer and a car were destroyed. No one was living in the home at the time of the fire. An investigation is underway to find out how the fire started.

Man Charged with Sexually Abusing Teenage Girl

A Greenup Co. man has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing a teenage girl according to the Kentucky State Police. Larry B. Stevens, 31, has been charged with two counts of use of a minor under 18 in a sexual performance, five counts of possession of matter portraying sex performance by a minor, and prohibited use of electronic communication system to procure a minor. On June 24, KSP troopers received a report alleging Stevens had engaged in illegal activity with a 17-year-old girl. During the investigation, it was determined that illegal communication, including conversation and photographs, were exchanged between Stevens and the girl. Stevens was arrested and charged on Aug. 14.

Deal for Regional Jail Falls Apart

On Tuesday, both the Carter County and Boyd County fiscal courts unanimously voted to dissolve an agreement to build a new regional jail in northeast Kentucky that is aimed at saving taxpayers money. The idea for the proposed jail came about in 2012 with a goal of expanding and retaining federal prisoners housed in the counties' facilities and ultimately saving taxpayer money. Boyd County Judge-Executive William "Bud" Stevens said he supported the new jail, but Carter County Judge-Executive Charles Wallace sent a letter on Aug. 6, saying the Carter County Fiscal Court is backing out of the agreement.

State Education Department Seeks Student Advisers

The Kentucky Department of Education is looking for six students to serve on an advisory council to provide feedback to Education Commissioner Terry Holliday this school year. The Next-Generation Student Council is open to public school students in grades 10 to 12. The students will meet with Holliday and Education Department staff four times during the year to discuss the impact of state-level decisions on students statewide. Applications must be received or postmarked by 4:30 p.m. EDT Aug. 29. More information is available at http://bit.ly/KDENGSC. A department committee will score answers contained in the applications, and appointments will be decided by the applicants' success in communicating ideas and goals.


Local News 8-19-2014


Two Injured in Monday Morning Accident in Johnson County

Emergency crews responded to the scene of a head on collision early Monday morning in Johnson Co. Reports indicate the accident happened around 7 am along Rt. 1559, just off Rt. 201 near Murray Transport in the Sitka community. Officials say two men were injured and were sent to Paul B Hall Medical Center for observation. WSIP news has received no word on the condition of the injured. The Johnson Co. Sheriff’s Office are investigating the accident and no further information has been released.

Martin Co. Man Arrested in Connection to a Deadly Weekend House Fire

According to the KSP in Pikeville, on Saturday August 16 at 4:20 am Post 9, Pikeville received a call of a residential structure fire in the Inez community of Martin County. During preliminary investigation, three bodies were found deceased in the residence. Those bodies were taken to the State Medical Examiner's for autopsy and identification. Family members say Trinity Maynard, 8, Tina Goble, 42, and Cainie Johnson, 47 were the victims. Kentucky State Police Post 9 detectives arrested 41 year old Jack D. Smith of Inez, in connection with the ongoing investigation. Smith has been lodged in the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center on three counts of Murder, one count Robbery 1st Degree, and one count Tampering with physical evidence. The investigation is still ongoing and is being investigated by KSP Detective Tony Tackett. 

Deputies Arrest Boyd Co. Man for Selling Heroin

A Boyd Co. man was arrested over the weekend by the Boyd Co. Sheriff’s Office, accused of selling $500 worth of heroin at a cigarette shop. Kory O. All-Darby has been charged with trafficking a controlled substance. Deputies say All-Darby sold the drugs to undercover officers at the Fat Cats cigarette shop on Winchester Avenue in Ashland on Saturday. He is being held in the Boyd County Detention Center.

Man Sentenced in a Greenup Co. Double Murder

A Lewis Co. man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for his connection with a Greenup Co. double murder. Sammy Bertram was sentenced Friday in Lewis Co. He pled guilty in July 2014 to conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with the murders of Jeff Long and Pamela Willis. Long and Willis were found dead in Long's burned out trailer along Leatherwood Road in Greenup Co. in February 2008. Five people were originally arrested in connection with that crime.

Mitchell Royster, 27, was charged in 2010 with two counts of capital murder and one count of first-degree arson. In February 2013, Bertram, and Willie Burns, 25, and Chrissie Royster, 25, were each charged with two counts of murder, robbery, arson and tampering with physical evidence. Ashley Craft, 24, was charged with complicity to commit robbery. Bertram has also sentenced to five years in Lewis County for an unrelated case. Those sentences will be served concurrently.

Bracing for Bullying in Era of Social Media

Bullying is no longer a behavior that happens mostly on the playground or the school bus. Social media is providing online channels for negative interactions between children, with more than half of teens reporting they have witnessed online bullying. Experts like Peggy Caruso, a life coach and author of the book Revolutionizing Your Child's Life, says the best way an adult can help their child is to be aware of the potential sources of bullying. "The biggest thing is understanding the types of bullying, the signs that you look for," Caruso says.

Those signs include a child who seems withdrawn, lacks the desire to interact with others, or exhibits extreme changes in behavior. Under Kentucky's anti-bullying law, it is unlawful to make someone suffer from fear of physical harm, intimidation, humiliation or embarrassment using the telephone or Internet. In addition to increased technology providing other outlets for bullies, Caruso says it has also decreased traditional communication between children, like talking and problem-solving face to face. "One of the issues with technology and social media is the loss of communication," says Caruso. "So, I also teach them how to mastermind together, brainstorm with other children, and just try to bring back some things that are lost." To deter negative online interactions, she says advise your child to resist the temptation to respond to the bully, don't retaliate, save any evidence and use online privacy tools and settings to block the bully.

Kentucky Laws Become National Models

A national gathering of state legislators has included six Kentucky laws in its list of suggested legislation for the rest of the nation. The Lexington-based Council of State Governments cited the state's statutes related to altered cash registers, clearing criminal records of victims of forced prostitution and requiring business to report data breaches as models for other lawmakers to use. The complete list of suggestions will be published in a booklet this winter. The other Kentucky measures cited provide civil liability protections to engineers and architects who volunteer their services after a natural disaster; allowing victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to remove their addresses from public voter registration rolls; and automatically terminating parental and custody rights of anyone convicted of felony rape when the mother keeps the child.

Local News 8-18-2014



Three Dead in Early Morning Fire in Martin County, Ky

Tragedy struck Martin Co. early Saturday morning as three people were killed following a devastating house fire. According to reports, neighbors said they heard an explosion and the next thing they knew, the house was in flames. The fire happened on Coldwater Road near Upper James Lane in Inez at around 3:30 am. Martin County Sheriff's Office, the Kentucky State Police and the state fire marshal are currently investigating. The Martin Co. Coroner’s office pronounced all three individuals dead at the scene and their bodies have been sent to the State Medical Examiner's office for autopsy and positive ID. No further information has been released at this time.

Johnson Co. Sheriff Conduct Roundup

According to reports, on Friday, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office conducted another roundup in search of drug suspects, as well as people wanted for theft indictments and child support. Sheriff Deputies were busy Friday searching for more than 30 people, 18 warrants from the sheriff's office and 16 from the county attorney’s office. Sheriff Price said these monthly roundups will continue in an effort to clean up this community. Price also said that in addition to the drug related indictments, his office is helping the county attorney locate several people facing child support charges. Michael Endicott told WYMT, each of the 16 people included in this roundup has fallen behind by about 1,000 dollars in child support payments. He explained further, "If people ignore us and do not cooperate with us or work with us to make some sort of effort to pay, then generally we will issue a warrant.”

Sheriff Price said his office will continue to search for these individuals and he ask the public that if you have any information regarding any illegal activity to please contact the Johnson County Sheriff's Office at (606)789-3411. Remember they need your information, not your name.

Man Killed in a Friday Accident in Magoffin Co.

Officials in Magoffin Co. say they are trying to determine if alcohol was a factor in a Thursday accident that claimed the life of a northern Kentucky man. The man’s identity has not yet been released, but the coroner’s office said the man was killed after he was ejected from his van which then rolled on top of him. The single vehicle accident happened late Thursday evening on Highway 460 near Long Branch Road. Investigators say the man was not wearing a seat belt and they are trying to determine the exact cause of the accident. No further information has been released at this time.

Anonymous Tip Leads to Meth and Other Drugs in Knott County

According to the Knott Co. Sheriff’s Office and the KSP in Hazard, an anonymous tip led to the discovery of drugs in Knott County on Friday morning. Knott County sheriff's deputies and State Troopers found four different type of drugs, methamphetamine, Suboxyne, marijuana, and prescription pills at a trailer just off Highway 1087. Police say three suspects were located at the trailer when they arrived and upon search of the property, found drug paraphernalia inside a van, as well as one active meth lab, two inactive, syringes, and other meth-making materials inside the trailer. Those arrested was, April Smith, Ricky Jason Smith and Craig Pridemore. Officials say the suspects will be charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. The Knott Co. Sheriff’s Office and the KSP in Hazard are continuing to investigate this incident.

Remains Identified in Rowan Co.

According to a news release from the KSP in Morehead, on August 15, 2014, Kentucky State Police Morehead received positive identification of the remains discovered in Rowan County, on August 3, 2014. Dental records confirm the remains belong to Thomas Ray James from Grosse Point Park, Michigan. Mr. James was reported missing in 2004 from Grosse Point Park, Michigan. At the time of his disappearance Mr. James was 50 years old. Several weeks after Mr. James was reported missing his vehicle was located at the rest area in Rowan County. An extensive search was conducted at the time with no results. No foul play is suspected and the case remains under investigation by Detective Toby Gardner.

Settlement Reached In Drug-Keeping Record Case

Eastern Kentucky's top federal prosecutor says settlements have been reached with multiple treatment programs and two pharmacies accused of failing to maintain accurate drug-keeping records. U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey said Friday the treatment programs and pharmacies agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle the claims. The allegations stem from Drug Enforcement Administration audits of records at the facilities. Prosecutors say DEA agents found the facilities improperly documented the types of drugs, dosage strength, drug names or amounts dispensed. Harvey says the Perry County Treatment Center, Pike County Treatment Center and Paintsville Professional Associates and one of its doctors agreed to pay a total of $525,000 to settle claims. He says MedZone Pharmacy and Neighborhood Pharmacy, both in Prestonsburg, each agreed to pay $250,000 for similar violations.           

Kentucky, Feds Reach Agreement on Hemp Imports

Kentucky agriculture officials and the federal government have finalized an agreement on how industrial hemp seeds may be imported into the state. After reaching the deal Friday, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has agreed to drop a lawsuit filed in May over acquiring the seeds. Under the agreement, the department will file an application with the federal government for a permit to import hemp seeds, and the federal government will process the Kentucky's application quickly. The federal government also agrees that the process established by the state will control the cultivation and marketing of hemp. The department filed suit in May against several government agencies after seeds ticketed for Kentucky were held by customs in Louisville. The seeds were released in late May and distributed to universities and private farmers.


Local News 8-15-2014

Martin Co. Woman Sentenced on Forgery Charges

A Martin Co. woman said to be a part of the “Martin Co. Mafia” has been sentenced on several forgery charges. Melissa Perkins Hinkle, 28, was sentenced to 2 years on each of the 10 counts of Forgery 2nd Degree. Back in February 2013, Perkins was arrested along with six other people for allegedly being involved in a scheme to steal money from the Martin County Water District/ KSP charged all seven with engaging in organized crime. Hinkle’s sentence will run concurrently, but consecutive with 2 days credit. The charge against her for being a Persistent Felony Offender 2nd Degree was dismissed to Martin County Circuit Court.

Lawrence Co. Pair Indicted on Burglary Charges

Reports indicate that a Lawrence Co. man and woman have recently been indicted for their involvement in a burglary. Rebecca Ward, 42, Louisa, was indicted on the charges of 2nd Degree Burglary/Complicity, 3rd Burglary/Complicity, and Persistent Felony Offender. Michael Shawn Cordle, 39, Blaine, KY, was also indicted on charges of 2nd Degree Burglary/Complicity and 3rd Degree Burglary/Complicity.

According to the indictment, on or about June 24, Ward acted alone or in complicity with Cordle by knowingly and unlawfully entering and remaining in a dwelling house owned by Mr. Shannon Thompson, with the intent to commit the crime of theft. The pair also knowingly and unlawfully entered and remained in an outbuilding owned by Thompson with the intent to commit the crime of theft. Ward is considered a Persistent Felony Defender due to being previously convicted of felonies.

Morgan Co. Judge Executive Set to Plead Guilty to Fraud Charges

According to reports, Morgan County's Judge Executive is expected to enter a guilty plea involving federal fraud and conspiracy charges. Tim Conley was indicted for misusing county money that was supposed to be used to help rebuild after two tornadoes hit the area in 2012. Conley was accused of taking gifts, bribes and kickbacks in exchange for awarding contracts to a Magoffin County construction company. Conley and two owners of that construction company are accused of keeping some state and federal relief money as well. Conley's attorney has filed paperwork asking for re-arraignment so Conley can enter a guilty plea. There has been no word on when the guilty plea might be entered.

Counties Getting Refunds from Mining Permit Fees

Thirty-four coal counties in Kentucky are in line to receive refunds totaling nearly $400,000 from mining permit and acreage fees. Gov. Steve Beshear's administration said Wednesday that the amount being refunded to fiscal courts is up slightly from last year. The state Department for Natural Resources collects mining permit and acreage fees. It returns a portion of those fees to coal-producing counties for projects that the fiscal courts consider beneficial to their communities. Refunds this year will range from $25 to $73,583. Beshear's office says this year's refunds will total $399,450. Last year's refund amount was $381,400.The following is a list of Johnson and surrounding counties amounts:

Johnson County Fiscal Court $23,538
Boyd County Fiscal Court $125
Breathitt County Fiscal Court $32,038
Elliott County Fiscal Court $1,675
Floyd County Fiscal Court $15,646
Knott County Fiscal Court $13,404

Lawrence County Fiscal Court $7,313
Magoffin County Fiscal Court $25,713
Martin County Fiscal Court $17,133
Morgan County Fiscal Court $25
Pike County Fiscal Court $73,583

Kentucky’s Unemployment Rate Stays at 7.4% for July

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for July 2014 was unchanged from the revised 7.4 percent in June 2014, according to the Office of Employment and Training (OET), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The preliminary July 2014 jobless rate was 1.0 percentage point below the 8.4 percent rate recorded for the state in July 2013. Labor force statistics, including the unemployment rate, are based on estimates from the Current Population Survey of households. It is designed to measure trends rather than to count the actual number of people working. It includes jobs in agriculture and those classified as self-employed. In July 2014, Kentucky’s civilian labor force was 2,035,440, a decrease of 15,523 individuals compared to the previous month. Employment was down by 13,231, and the number of unemployed declined by 2,292. Learn more about Kentucky labor market information at www.kylmi.ky.gov.

Small Business Program Set Up For Road Work

Small businesses are gaining a new path to become involved in federally funded transportation projects in Kentucky. Gov. Steve Beshear's office says the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has established a Small Business Enterprise program within the existing Disadvantaged Business Enterprises program. The cabinet will set a participation goal for small businesses for each transportation project assisted by the Federal Highway Administration and of at least $2 million. Small businesses will have goals for projects in addition to disadvantaged business goals. For more information, contact the Small Business Development Branch of the cabinet's Office of Civil Rights and Small Business Development at (800) 928-3079 or (502) 564-3601, or online at http://transportation.ky.gov/Civil-Rights-and-Small-Business-Development/Pages/SmallBusinessHome.aspx.