, Corbin, KY

September 9, 2013

Trial date for murder case TBD

Unknown whether four people will get joint or separate trials


CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A trial date has yet to be set for four people facing murder and several other related charges in the November 2012 killing of Barbourville resident Jonathan Ryan Foley.

That’s because the question whether the four will get a joint trial or separate trials remains unanswered.

Foley, 27, disappeared after a trip to the store, according to his father, Charles Foley Jr., of Barbourville, who reported him missing Nov. 7.

Foley’s body was found four days later in the Trosper Community.

During a pretrial conference Friday in Knox County Circuit Court, all four stood with their attorneys before Judge Tom Jensen.

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, of Trosper, was arrested around Thanksgiving.

One of the main topics discussed centered on interview tapes.

Jensen explained he had received tapes of the four defendants’ initial interviews, however, “I’ve had no chance to listen (to them) yet,” he said.

Wyatt’s attorney, Cotha Hudson, explained she has a motion pending for severance of the four defendants into separate trials — however, that decision is based on the judge’s opinion of the aforementioned tapes.

Jensen then decided an additional pretrial conference was required.

“I’m concerned (about) getting (those tapes) at that late date,” Jensen said. “Providing the recordings two days before today was not realistic.”

He added that he “would like your office to propose (how) redaction should be made.” He requested the information be provided no later than the next pretrial conference, now slated for Oct. 4. Jensen expects to rule at that time about the tapes, and about the possibility of separate trials for all four.

All four defendants were remanded back into custody at the Knox County Detention Center.

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.

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

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.