TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

February 28, 2014

May trial date set for woman charged with child’s murder


TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A May trial date has been set in the murder case against an Arjay woman accused of killing 11-year-old Nathaniel “Nathan” Lee Broughton in a 2012 car crash.

Melissa Ann Collett, 36, of Arjay, was named on a five-count indictment in Knox County Circuit Court in May.

The first count of that indictment charges her with murder after she allegedly drove a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, then crashed that vehicle, killing Broughton and injuring three others.

Counts two through four indict her on three separate charges of first-degree assault after allegedly causing the crash and seriously injuring Dominique Broughton and two other young children.

The fifth count indicts Collett for her third offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants. She was previously convicted of this offense on two separate occasions in 2007 in Bell County.

Collett entered a not guilty plea in June. At that time, she was jailed in the Knox County Detention Center under a $250,000 cash bond.

In September, her probation was revoked on an unrelated case, and after her hearing she was sentenced to one year to serve by Judge Tom Jensen.

On Thursday, Collett, who remains jailed, appeared handcuffed and shackled with her defense attorney, Joseph Hammons.

Hammons discussed that he needed a continuance of the case, as he had just received additional evidence Wednesday.

Other evidence discussed was the medical records of the other three victims injured in the crash.

There was some discussion concerning a plea offer, however, it was determined if the continuance was granted, “the offer made would be withdrawn.”

It was not clear whether the offer still stood after Thursday’s hearing — but the continuance was granted.

Collett is scheduled for a final pretrial conference May 1 — a week later on May 8 she is slated for trial.

Kentucky court records indicate a civil action has been filed in this matter, but no date on that case has yet been listed.