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In a sensational lawsuit, a defendant jailed for nearly five years on a murder charge before he was acquitted says he was framed in part to protect a sheriff who was being paid off by one of the actual perpetrators.
The suit filed Monday on behalf of 37-year-old William “Bill Bill” Anderson also alleges that a Kentucky State Police detective protected that suspect because he was married to one of the detective’s close relatives.
“Anderson lost nearly five years of his life … facing a sentence of death for a crime he did not commit,” his lawyers say in his suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in London and charges that officers coerced witnesses, fabricated statements, falsified medical records and destroyed evidence.
"This manifest injustice was not the result of flaws in the judicial system,” the suit says. “Rather, the defendants conspired to take his liberty by knowingly initiating false charges based on evidence that they fabricated.”
The 38-page lawsuit accuses former Knox Sheriff John Pickard of protecting a man who should have been charged as an accomplice because he was paying Pickard $1,000 a month to be allowed to commit crimes in the county with impunity.
The suit also names five Kentucky State Police detectives, including one, Sgt. Jason York, who was accused in a lawsuit last month of framing a pair of cousins in another Knox County murder. Pickard also is a defendant in that suit.
Pickard could not be reached for comment. York's lawyers, Scott Miller and Charles Cole, said in a statement that the claims in the suit are "unfair and unfounded" and that they will seek its dismissal. They also noted York did not arrest, charge nor search Anderson.
Lt. Michael Webb, a spokesman for state police, declined to comment on the suit but said it thoroughly reviews any allegations brought against agency personnel. He said KSP doesn't discuss internal personnel investigations.
Anderson was acquitted in May 2016 in the murder of Bobby Wiggins, whose body had been found five years earlier buried on Red Bird Mountain in Bell County, about 200 miles southeast of Louisville. Co-defendant James Sizemore pleaded guilty to killing Wiggins, whose skull was smashed with a rock and neck slashed 18 times.
Anderson’s lawyers – from a Chicago law firm that has won numerous exonerations across the United States, including in Kentucky – say that Pickard, York and other detectives and deputies knew that two days after the murder, a security video from the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Corbin showed Sizemore and his uncle buying materials to bury the body.
A receipt shows Sizemore’s uncle, Jeffrey Gray, paid cash for a shovel, two flashlights, salt and six bags of lime.
The suit says Gray was never charged because York was married to one of his relatives and because Gray for five years had been paying Pickard $1,000 a month to “conduct criminal activity” in a “pay-to-play scheme” that also involved sheriff’s deputies. SEE MORE HERE
By Andrew Wolfson
By Dr. Glenn Mollette
The only way to get out of the darkness is to follow the light. Sometimes it's just a very faint light. Often you have to be in the darkness long enough to refocus your eyes so that you can look for a glimmer of light to follow out of the darkness.
Darkness is never enjoyable. Often it's a long valley that seems hopeless and inescapable. There are different forms of darkness such as poverty, failing health, family difficulties, work dissatisfaction, discord in your relationships, failures of all kinds and the list goes on. You may have been there or you may be there now. You may not see any way out and may have given up to just try to survive the darkness of your life and existence.
The worst feeling of all is the feeling of hopelessness. Hopelessness is when we see no way out or no chance of things getting better. We go to the doctor with hopes of medical treatment. We go to work in hopes of financially caring for our selves and the people we love. Sometimes we seek other kinds of help in hopes that an addiction or other life altering habit might be solved so that we might be freed to be at peace with life.
I read this a long time ago and claim it every day in different ways. Walk in the light while you have the light before darkness overtakes you. Throughout life I've learned if I walked in the light that I had then I usually would receive more light.
When I was a kid we had a light bulb in the ceiling of most every room. There would be a long string attached to the little silver chain that would pull the switch and turn on the light. Throughout my childhood I often would go into a dark bedroom at night and search for that dangling string. Finding that string was a relief because it turned on the light. A room with light was much easier to navigate than a dark room.
Often we look for the dangling string for a long time to turn on the light. Sometimes we eventually find it and sometimes people never do. Some people live in desperation of trying to find the dangling string while others simply gave up a long time ago.
I tried for years to break through in publishing a book. I was about ready to give up when one morning I was reading the daily newspaper and read one sentence in that newspaper that turned on the light. I now have twelve books and have helped numerous others. Following that one sentence of light gave way to more light that enabled me to see the way to numerous other endeavors and projects. Following that light showed me the way that I needed at that time.
There is something to this old saying that is true, "Let us not grow weary in doing good. We will reap a harvest if we don't quit." Another truth that I have heard is, "Believe in the light while you have the light so that you may become children of light."
I don't know what you are dealing with today but don't quit. It's easier said than done, I know. However, maybe, if you hang in there and keep your head up and your hand stretching out in front of you, then just maybe, you will feel the sting dangling in the darkness.
Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of eleven books.
He is read in all fifty states. Enjoy books by Glenn Mollette
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 17, 2016) - Today Gov. Matthew Bevin issued an executive order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s emergency response system by reorganizing the Kentucky 911 Services Board.
“The citizens of the Commonwealth depend on 911 dispatch centers for life-saving communications during emergency situations day and night,” Gov. Bevin stated. “As Kentucky’s 911 system transitions from an outdated analog model to modern digital capabilities, it is imperative that the leadership of the initiative follows the most effective and efficient strategy possible. Kentucky is not currently a leader in the implementation of Next Generation 911 technology. For the safety of our citizens we must adopt NG911 solutions.”
The executive order:
• Reduces the board’s membership from 15 to five members, reducing board travel expenses and reimbursement expenses.
• Creates an advisory council made up of 13 members appointed by the Governor.
• Transitions daily management and oversight of the board to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS), which will increase staff management efficiency and lower operating costs.
• The board is administratively attached to KOHS per KRS 39G.040 and KOHS maintains a robust grants department that administers millions of dollars annually in federal grants.
Membership of the newly constituted 911 Services Board will include:
• The secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet.
• The executive director of the Office of Homeland Security.
• The director of the Division of Emergency Management.
• The commissioner of the Department of Local Government.
• One citizen appointed by the Governor who is an attorney or accountant and who is not an employee of the state or a local government. Gov. Bevin has appointed William L. McElheney of Florence as the citizen representative of the 911 Services Board.
“Moving forward, the Kentucky 911 Services Board will maintain laser focus on maximizing resources to all Kentucky communities in order to transition the Commonwealth’s emergency response communications system into the 21st Century,” KOHS Executive Director John Holiday said.