TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

July 16, 2013

Man appears in court for pouring gas on wife, self


TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

CORBIN —

By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A man alleged to have poured gasoline on himself and his wife while threatening to set them both on fire appeared before Judge Paul K. Winchester in Whitley County Circuit Court Monday.

Russell L. Knickerbocker, 48, of Corbin, appeared in court with his defense attorney, Jim Wren.

Court records were unclear, so prior to other scheduled court proceedings, Knickerbocker was formally arraigned Monday.

Wren waived formal arraignment on Knickerbocker’s behalf and pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Knickerbocker, who appeared before Winchester handcuffed in jail attire, faces charges of first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree attempted arson and resisting arrest.

During his short appearance Monday, Wren motioned the court for permission to “retain an expert witness,” in the psychological evaluation of Knickerbocker, who was reportedly evaluated by the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in LaGrange. Wren’s motion was granted by Winchester, so Knickerbocker is now scheduled for another court date some time in September, when that independent evaluation has had time to be completed.

On March 16, the Corbin Police Department responded to a domestic violence complaint on 8th Street, according to Public Affairs Officer Major Rob Jones.

The caller said a man was pouring gas in a woman’s eyes and trying to kill her.

Officers allegedly found Knickerbocker and his wife, Carla Knickerbocker, covered with gasoline. Russell Knickerbocker had allegedly doused the couple in gas and threatened to light them both on fire, according to Jones.

Jones added those officers reportedly witnessed Russell Knickerbocker pouring gas around his house and threatened to burn it down as well.

A standoff ensued, but Corbin Fire Department firefighters were able to hit the man with a stream of water, ending the threat, according to Jones.

After his release from the hospital, he was jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center, where he remains under a $300,000 cash bond.