Man enters guilty plea in fatal shooting case

LAUREL COUNTY – A London man accused of fatally shooting another man in October 2016 has entered a guilty plea to his charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

John C. Stricker, 37, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a lone count of murder during a hearing in Laurel Circuit Court late last week, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele. The plea comes as negotiations between prosecutors and Stricker’s attorney were extended earlier this month ahead of his previously-scheduled April 16 jury trial.

Steele confirmed the information concerning Stricker’s agreement Monday, which includes a recommended sentence from prosecutors of 25 years in prison. However, with the type of plea Stricker entered, he could spend some or all of that time in a specialized facility.

“Since he has pleaded guilty but mentally ill, he will be assessed and treated at the state prison hospital for his mental illnesses,” said Steele, via text. “Once his mental health issues are addressed to the point that he is considered safe to himself and others in the department of corrections, he will be in whatever prison system they deem appropriate.”

A formal sentencing has been set for May 9 at 11 a.m., where the judge will make a final ruling concerning Stricker’s punishment. At that time, a pre-sentence investigation report—which details the criminal behavior/background of a particular defendant—will be provided to the court for the judge to review before making their ruling.

The trial date has been set aside.

On Oct. 9, 2016, officers with the London Police Department were dispatched to a Middleground Way residence to investigate a shooting, where Donnie Stone, 62, of London was found deceased within the home. Following an investigation, officers determined Stricker to be the shooter.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Department and Kentucky State Police later found Stricker at a residence in Clay County. During an interview with officers, Stricker allegedly admitted to shooting Stone five times with a .38 caliber pistol, which was allegedly found in his possession and seized.

Stricker was arrested and charged with murder. He was indicted later that month by a Laurel County grand jury, formally charging him in the case.

Stricker currently remains jailed in the Laurel County Correctional Center.

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