Two men were arraigned Thursday in Harlan Circuit Court on charges stemming from the alleged murder of a Harlan man about three weeks ago.
Jody Cooper, 24, of Baxter, was arraigned on charges of murder, abuse of a corpse, first-degree robbery and tampering with physical evidence.
Justin Miller, 28, of Cumberland, was arraigned on charges of complicity to murder, first-degree facilitating a robbery and tampering with physical evidence.
Cooper was first to be arraigned, appearing in front of Special Judge James Bowling with his attorney, Otis Doan. Cooper stood silently while Bowling read the list of charges. Cooper entered a not guilty plea.
Miller, having been found to be indigent, was represented by attorney Laura Karem of the Harlan County Public Defender’s Office. Miller entered a plea of not guilty.
Cooper and Miller were arrested following an investigation by Kentucky State Police into the shooting death of Damiano Delaney approximately three weeks ago.
According to previous reports, KSP Sgt. Jackie Pickrell said in a press release Post 10 received a call in reference to a possible murder at 1413 HWY 522 at Rosspoint. Upon arrival units discovered Delaney deceased in the yard. Cooper and Miller were arrested at the scene and transported to the Harlan County Detention Center.
KSP Public Affairs Officer Shane Jacobs said at the time the shooting was possibly drug-related and Damiano had suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
In other court action:
Rachel Osborne, 33, of Mary Alice, and Tim Turner, 36, of Harlan, also made appearances Thursday. Attorneys for both Osborne and Turner as well as prosecutors from the Office of the Attorney General gathered in front of Bowling’s bench to determine the next court date.
The pair are awaiting trial for their alleged involvement in the May 10, 2011 murder of Stephen Gibson.
Turner and Osborne were both present, but neither defendant made any comment during their tenure in the courtroom.
Outside the courtroom after the pre-trial conference, Sandra Downs, attorney for Osborne, said the case had been a “procedural mess” so far.
Rebecca Lytle, Turner’s attorney, stated the former prosecutor for the case, Theresa Reed, had lost the election requiring new prosecutors to be assigned.
Attorneys Thom Marshall and Jeff Prather from the Office of the Attorney General were present for the prosecution.
The next court date for Osborne and Turner is scheduled for May 2.
In other court activity:
* Barbara Blevins, 45, of Keavy, was sentenced on the state’s recommendation to three years in prison on charges of first- and second-degree trafficking a controlled substance. Blevins was granted supervised probation for a period of five years;
* James Reynolds, 35, of Kennel City, was sentenced on a charge of second-degree trafficking a controlled substance to three years in prison, probated for three years. The first year of probation is to be supervised. Reynolds must attend one AA or NA meeting per week;
* Kelly Witt, 51, of Harlan, was sentenced to a total of one year in prison on two counts of trafficking a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. Witt was ordered to pay $375 in restitution;
* Heather Polly was sentenced on a charge of criminal possession of a forged instrument to 12 months in jail. Polly was granted 24 months supervised probation and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,469;
* Lyndon Sweat, 50, of Harlan, was sentenced on the state’s recommendation to a total of two years in prison on an amended charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon;
* William Vanover, 62, of Indianapolis, Ind., was sentenced to one year in prison, probated, for a charge of cultivation of marijuana.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com