Court awaits DNA

Murder cases progress in circuit court

By Joe P. Asher - [email protected]

Shelby Shell

Melissa Brown

Christopher Hill

Harlan Circuit Court saw a number of murder cases moving along on Thursday, with several defendants accused of murder making court appearances.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Parker Boggs and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jonathan Lee represented the state in every case, with Harlan Circuit Court Judge Kent Hendrickson presiding.

Shelby Shell, 32, of Berea, appeared in court with his attorney Roger Gibbs. Discussion revealed due to awaiting DNA evidence, discovery is still incomplete.

Hendrickson scheduled Shell’s next court appearance for July 21.

While awaiting trial on charges including murder stemming from the death of former Evarts Mayor Ronnie King, Shell is currently serving a 10-year sentence for first-degree promoting contraband and persistent felony offender.

Melissa Gregory Brown, 30, of Harlan and Christopher Hill, 44, of Cumberland, also appeared in court. Both are charged with murder in the death of April Dean.

Hill was represented by attorney Frank Riley. Attorney Deidre Douglass represented Brown. Riley and Douglass are with the Department of Public Advocacy.

After some routine work, Hill and Brown were each scheduled for another court appearance on Nov. 16.

Hill has a trial date of Dec. 19, with the trial expected to last four days.

Brown is also scheduled for a four-day trial set to begin on Dec. 19.

Kentucky State Police Det. Josh Howard arrested Brown on Sept. 4 and Hill on Sept. 5 on charges of first-degree arson and murder, in connection with the fatal house fire at Stanfill.

According to a previous report, Dean, 26, was found unresponsive inside her residence that became engulfed with fire on Aug. 16. Dean’s mother, Janet Dean, was not at home at the time of the fire. KSP Arson Investigator Josh Bunch was called to the scene to conduct an investigation as well as the State Fire Marshal.

In other court activity, Patricia Davidson was sentenced for second-degree trafficking a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender to a total of five years in prison. She was granted probation on the sentence for a period of two years. Her probation is to be supervised.

Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde

Shelby Shell Shell

Melissa Brown Brown

Christopher Hill Hill
Murder cases progress in circuit court

By Joe P. Asher

[email protected]

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