WHITLEY COUNTY - As court proceedings continue to pick back up following virtual hearings and delays caused by the pandemic, a number of cases in Whitley County Circuit Court have had future pretrial conference dates scheduled.
Stephen George Williams, of Pinckney Court in Kileen, Texas had a pretrial conference on Monday. Williams was arrested and indicted on a three count indictment for attempted murder, stemming from incidents occurring on Oct. 21, 2018 along Interstate 75.
The indictment states that while driving a pickup truck southbound on I-75, Williams shot a gun into the vehicles occupied by three different people in Whitley and Laurel Counties. It does not specify whether the victims were in the same vehicle or in separate ones. Williams was also said to have been holding his mother at gunpoint while being pursued by authorities. Williams eventually struck a tractor trailer near the 134-mile marker in Tennessee.
Following the wreck, Williams' mother was taken to the LaFollette Medical Center and later transferred to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for further treatment. Williams is due back in court for an additional pretrial conference August 10.
James Childress of Williamsburg was also in court Monday for a pretrial conference. He was indicted in October 2019 on two counts of first-degree rape by engaging in sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 12 years old.
Count one of the indictment accuses Childress, 37, of engaging in sexual intercourse of a child under the age of 12 between the dates of Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2014. Count two accuses Childress of engaging in sexual intercourse with a different child under the age of 12 between the same dates listed in the first count. Childress has had an additional pretrial conference scheduled for June 15.
Jerry Melton of Wooton, Kentucky has also had a future pretrial conference scheduled for June 15. Melton was arrested by officers from the Williamsburg Police Department on May 3 of last year. According to the arrest citation filed by Officer Johnny Fulton, Melton fired shots into a semi after the truck reportedly almost "hit him then ran him off the side of the road."
Hunter Cole of Knoxville, Tennessee will have a status hearing on July 13, after it was ordered that he undergo an evaluation by the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center (KCPC).
Cole was arrested along with Zachery T. Munsey in Tennessee by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and Deputies with the Knox County (TN) Sheriff's Office on May 1, 2020, after Williamsburg Police obtained an arrest warrant for both men. They were later extradited to the Whitley County Detention Center.
The arrests come as the result of a one-month investigation by officers Dorman Patrick Jr. and Detective David Rowe in which Patrick determined that Cole had used his Apple iPhone for the purpose of procuring and promoting the use of a minor in sexual activity. Patrick later executed a search warrant for Cole’s phone and determined his phone contained content portraying a sexual performance by a minor.
Both men were offered a plea deal by the Commonwealth back in November. Munsey accepted the deal, while Cole did not.
Cole currently faces 22 counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, one count of using electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities, five counts of use of a minor in a sexual performance and one count first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor - illegal controlled substance, victim under 16 years of age.