TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

October 7, 2013

Question remains whether defendants will get separate trials

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

The question whether four defendants accused in the November 2012 murder of 27-year-old Jonathan Ryan Foley will get separate trials remains unanswered after a Friday pretrial conference before Judge Tom Jensen in Knox County Circuit Court.

Three suspects were arrested initially for this murder — John Chris Mills, 42, of Barbourville, and James Wyatt, 34, and George Marcum, 53, both of Trosper.

The fourth man indicted in this case, Lonnie J. Sturdivant, 28, also of Trosper, was arrested around Thanksgiving.

The four may learn at their next scheduled pretrial conference Nov. 1 whether that decision has been made.

Foley disappeared after a trip to the store and was reported missing Nov. 7 by his father, Charles Foley Jr., of Barbourville.

The deceased lived with his father at the time of his disappearance and subsequent murder.

Four days later Foley’s body was recovered off Ed Matlock Place Road in the Trosper Community.

According to Barbourville Police Chief Mike Broughton, Foley was killed the same day he went missing.

Barbourville Police Detective Steve Owens said surveillance video provided by Knox County Hospital was reviewed after Foley’s father located his son’s 2002 Ford F150 parked at CSC next door. “There were two Ford trucks (in the surveillance video) matching the description of what we were looking for,” Owens said. They also sought Wyatt’s Ford truck. “The two trucks came in at the same time, leaving Foley’s truck parked there.”

Charles Foley Jr., said when he located the vehicle, it appeared as though it had been “four-wheeling.”

“There was mud and grass underneath,” Foley, Jr. said. “...And the bottom was messed up. It looked like it’d been through a garden or a swamp.

“Even the parking lights were jammed up with mud.”

All four suspects in this case were indicted in December. Mills, Marcum and Wyatt were named in the first count of the 11-count indictment, charging the three with beating Foley 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 indicts 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.

The four accused stood with their attorneys Friday — all of whom remain in the custody of the Knox County Detention Center.

According to court records, Wyatt remains jailed under a $400,000 bond, while Marcum and Mills are incarcerated on a $500,000 cash bond each.

Sturdivant remains jailed under a $25,000 cash bond.

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