By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Four men arrested in the death of Barbourville resident Jonathan Foley pleaded not guilty in Knox County Circuit Court Tuesday.
Shackled in the tradition tan jail attire, James Wyatt, 33, George Marcum, 52, and Lonnie Sturdivant, 28, all of Trosper, and John C. Mills, 42, of Barbourville faced multiple charges including murder.
According to the first count of the 11-count indictment, Wyatt, Marcum and Mills are accused of murdering Foley by beating him with a blunt object, then strangling him with a belt.
In the second count of the indictment, the three are charged with first-degree robbery, as a death resulted during the course of committing the robbery against Foley.
The third count charges all four with tampering with evidence by destroying, mutilating, concealing removing or altering physical evidence which could have been used during an official proceeding.
In counts four and five, Wyatt and Sturdivant are both charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Count six indicts Wyatt, Marcum and Mills on first-degree unlawful imprisonment by allegedly “restraining the liberty” of Foley.
The same three are charged in Count 7 with abuse of a corpse “by intentionally treating the body of Jonathan Ryan Foley in a way that would outrage ordinary family sensibilities.”
Count 8 charges Wyatt and Sturdivant in possession of a defaced firearm by owning a weapon which had the serial number removed.
Counts 9 and 10 charge Mills and Wyatt with being second-degree persistent felony offenders, and Count 11 charges Sturdivant with first-degree persistent felony offender.
Wyatt is under a $400,000 cash bond, Mills and Marcum are both under $500,000 cash bond each, and Sturdivant, who is alleged to have not participated in the robbery or murder, is under a $25,000 cash bond.
Foley was reported missing in November by his father, who found his son’s abandoned truck near Knox County Hospital. His body was found less than a week later off Ed Matlock Place Road in Trosper.