TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

June 10, 2013

Smith appears in Knox County Circuit Court

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A man found competent to stand trial in May now has a trial date set.

Johnny Paul Smith, 24, who faces attempted murder and other related charges, appeared for a pretrial conference Friday in Knox County Circuit Court.

He is represented by attorney Jennifer Milligan.

Smith is now slated for a jury trial Sept. 10, and a final pretrial conference is scheduled for Aug. 30.

Smith was indicted in September for attempted murder, first-degree fleeing or evading, five counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, menacing, operating on a suspended license, driving under the influence and second-degree persistent felony offender.

These charges came after Smith allegedly attempted to run down officers during a roadblock in July.

Smith stood with his attorney, Jennifer Milligan, before Judge Tom Jensen for his competency hearing.

During Smith’s competency hearing last month, Judge Tom Jensen swore in psychologist Dr. Timothy Allen, director of the University of Kentucky’s Adult Forensic Clinic, who examined Smith.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele began questioning the doctor.

According to Allen, Smith was evaluated from his arrival on Oct. 11 through his release on Nov. 5.

Allen explained Smith suffered a head injury in 2006, for which he was hospitalized approximately a week.

Allen testified the examination was conducted through interviews and observance, but said Smith “gave very low effort” when it came to cooperating with the exam.

“He repeatedly chose wrong answers,” Allen said. “He said he had significant memory problems.”

Allen added that Smith said he could not remember where he worked, nor facts or memories of his own life prior to and after the accident.

He also testified Smith showed an “unwillingness to cooperate” with the examination. “(He gave) ridiculous answers to some of the questions,” he said, adding that the five questions he asked were very simple, and that third-graders averaged 4.5 out of 5 correct answers.

Smith scored zero out of five.

Milligan explained that Smith, who was out on probation for an unrelated crime, has a revocation hearing pending. The results of that revocation could mean a 15-year sentence, according to Milligan.

According to Detective Steve Owens with the Barbourville Police Department, early in the morning of July 21, Smith allegedly first tried to hit two city police officers conducting a safety checkpoint near the Knox County Courthouse. Owens said officers had to jump away from the road to avoid being struck.

Smith is then alleged to have driven toward another police officer, who had his back turned as he questioned another violator.

Police said they fired shots to try and keep the third officer from being struck.

Officers said Smith led police on a chase that lasted for miles out of the city and down a side road. Police used a special tactical maneuver to force Smith to stop.

Smith was taken to Knox County Hospital for observation. When it was determined he didn’t need medical treatment, he was taken to the Knox County Detention Center.

He remains jailed there under a $25,000 cash bond.

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