, Corbin, KY

February 28, 2014

3 accused in death to be tried separately, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

While Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele and Circuit Judge Tom Jensen agreed in September that the three defendants accused in the beating death of 67-year-old Catherine Mills should have a joint trial — now it appears the three will be tried separately.

Jonathon M. Taylor, 26, Amanda Hoskins, 29, both of Barbourville, and William Lester, of Flat Lick, appeared with their attorneys Thursday in Knox County Circuit Court for a suppression hearing.

Hoskins and Taylor remain jailed — Lester is free on bond.

The three face first-degree robbery and murder charges in Mills’ death.

The first order of business for this case was a motion to suppress evidence.

That motion was discussed, and it concerned photos of one of the defendants wearing a hooded shirt or jacket — the concern was a violation of federal rights.

It was unclear why this evidence needed to be suppressed.

Steele explained that the defendant’s Miranda rights were explained — but the motion was that none of those photos concerning Taylor get used during the trial.

Steele assured both Jensen and the defense attorneys that he “would not be introducing any of those pictures into evidence.”

Although some other discussion was held, Jensen felt the issue “had been resolved.”

The next concern was Hoskins’ bail — her attorney said she “just didn’t have the money” to make that bond, which had been set at $1 million cash.

And that’s when it was learned the three would be tried separately — her attorney’s concern was that if Taylor was to face trial first she would have to remain in jail until his case was resolved. “I’ve got good grounds to (have her) released on an unsecured bond,” he said.

Jensen requested something in writing, which he likely received based on JailTracker records. Hoskins was released from the Knox County Detention Center under a $10,000 fully-secured bond.

The next discussion on the plate was setting a trial date.

The motion to sever was sustained — but Taylor was the only defendant scheduled for a trial. He is slated to face a jury Sept. 8, with a final pretrial conference set for Aug. 29. He remains in jail.

Both Hoskins and Lester will also appear for a pretrial conference Aug. 29 — and on that day trials for each of them will be scheduled.

Once that was established, the defense offered up another motion — this one concerning the receipt of evidence and other information. It was discussed that while their offices are in Lexington, it’s taking up to five days for them to receive information from the Commonwealth. It was requested that email be used instead.

It was unclear what, if any, resolution came from that issue.

Just after 5:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 2010, Kentucky State Police from Post 10 in Harlan responded to Mills’ residence.

A delivery man had discovered her body and notified law enforcement.

The unnamed delivery driver apparently discovered Mills just minutes after she was robbed and murdered, according to Knox County Coroner Mike Blevins.

The three suspects received a two-count indictment in April 2012 from a Knox County grand jury.

In the first count, the three suspects each face the charge of murder, whether independently or in collaboration with others, “by striking Catherine Mills in the head and thereby causing her death.” The second count charges that, either together or in acting alone, the three robbed Mills by using physical force, which ultimately killed her.

Hoskins also faces a persistent felony offender charge.