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May 21, 2018



MAY 20, 2018 - written by WADE QUEEN

 Ashlee Pinson and Mackenzie Jade PinsonAshlee Pinson and Mackenzie Jade Pinson

A Martin County woman who was involved in an ATV crash, along with her toddler child in rural Martin County last week, died from injuries this past Thursday evening.

30 year-old Ashlee Pinson, of Inez, passed away at Cabell Huntington Hospital where she was flown after the Tuesday, May 15 accident, along with her 22-month old daughter.

The crash happened along Johnson Bottom off old state Route 3 in Martin County. Both Pinson and her daughter were flown to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Martin County deputies say Ashlee Pinson was driving the ATV with her 22-month-old daughter down a gravel hill when she lost control in a curve around 5:30 p.m Tuesday.

"I figured that's where she had probably lost control of the vehicle and I would guess it probably turned over, threw them off," "But it very well could've landed on top of her as it went on down the hill ... it was pretty bad." Martin County deputy sheriff Jerry Todd said.

"The neighbors had heard a baby crying and they went to see why the baby was crying and where it was at and that's how they found them," said Martin County deputy, Billy Patrick.

Patrick said they found Pinson and her daughter on the side of the road and the four-wheeler was about 30 feet away from them.

Deputy Todd stated Pinson's young daughter is doing well and was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon, the day after the crash.

Ashlee Pinson, however, was not as fortunate. Pinson sustained brain injuries and she remained in critical condition throughout until her passing.

"They (the injuries) were pretty extensive. It looked like she definitely had some head injuries and it was just, it was a bad accident. They were pretty severe injuries," deputy Todd said. "She was never doing good at all ... very critical."

Deputies said the cause of the crash remains unknown.

"We think that the baby, maybe, gave the gas to the four-wheeler and it kind of threw Ashley back a little bit and took her hands off the handlebars and so then she lost control and it went down into a ditch and just started flipping down the hill," said Jeff Marcum, Ashley Pinson's Uncle.

Neighbor Kevin Whitt, who lives next door to where the crash happened, described the scene as pure chaos.

"Chaos, a lot of people screaming that their family was down here, it was just awful and that little kid, it was covered in blood," Whitt said. "It was awful."

Visitation for Ashlee Pinson was Saturday, May 19, at 4:00 p.m. and the funeral was Sunday, May 20, at 2:00 p.m. Both services were at New Friendship Church.

Martin County deputies are emphacizing the importance of ATV safety.

"You just want to be as safe as you can on them, make sure your brakes, everything's working properly before you're on them and the big thing is try not to have the little kids on there ... not have kids driving the ATVs and riding as passengers and stuff," deputy Todd said. "Just be as safe as you can because they are dangerous, especially on gravel roads."

That statement was never as true, due to a somber, yet ironic twist of fate, as within minutes of the Martin County ATV crash, there was also an ATV crash in Fort Gay, West Virginia area of Wayne County in which the rider of that ATV also suffered injuries and had to be flown to the same Huntington, West Virginia hospital as Ashlee Pinson and her daughter.

 See complete obituary HERE


May 21, 2018



written by WADE QUEEN


Elwood 'Woody' Six Elwood 'Woody' Six INEZ, KY. -- A Martin County man indicted for second degree manslaughter pleaded not guilty last week in court.

Law enforcement officials said Elwood "Woody" Six, 66, of Inez, shot and killed Rodney "Cockeye" Stepp in December 2017.

Six was arraigned in court Thursday May 17. A pre-trial hearing is set for June 21.

Rodney Stepp's wife told responding officers Elwood Six admitted to shooting her husband, a deputy said. Police said when they arrived at the scene they found the gun still in his pocket. Six has told relatives that he shot Stepp in self defense.

Elwood Six remains lodged at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Paintsville, where he is being held on a $10,155 full cash bond.




Cletus TurnerCletus TurnerA Martin County teacher pleaded not guilty in court on Thursday, May 17.

A grand jury indicted Cletus Ray Turner, 51, of Tomahawk, Kentucky, at the end of April, for sending inappropriate messages to a student.

Turner is accused of using his phone to procure or promote the use of a minor regarding sexual offenses.

The charge is a class D felony and the usual penalty is a 1-5 year sentence.

Turner has resigned his teaching position at Martin Co. Middle School.





A Martin County man deputies say unearthed a Martin County grave was ruled incompetent to stand trial Thursday May 17.

In 2017, a Martin County grand jury indicted Tea Luster for digging up the grave of James Howard’s grandmother. James Howard and Jennifer Luster were also involved in the gruesome and macabre act. Both of them pleaded guilty to violating the grave.

The Martin County Sheriff said the three worked together to dig up the grave.

James Howard allegedly offered Tea Luster $10,000 to commit the crime.

A mental evaluation led commonwealth attorneys to dismiss Tea Luster’s case.



May 17, 2018

Prosecutor wants additional penalties in police officer's death

As law enforcement officers prepared to gather with their friends and families at the East Kentucky Expo Center on Tuesday, Pike Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Bartley was preparing his office to file to seek the death penalty against the man charged with the killing of Pikeville Police Officer Scotty Hamilton in March.

Accused killer John Russel Hall, 55, of Hurricane Branch, Pikeville, left and slain Pikeville Police Officer Scotty HamiltonAccused killer John Russel Hall, 55, of Hurricane Branch, Pikeville, left and slain Pikeville Police Officer Scotty HamiltonBartley took to the stage during Tuesday’s National Peace Officers Memorial Day event to announce that motion has now been filed in Pike Circuit Court, notifying the defense team of John Russel Hall, 55, of Hurricane Branch, Pikeville, that the Commonwealth would seek additional penalties in the case, including, but not limited to, the death penalty.

“We have to file a notice of intent, and a notice of aggravating factors,” Bartley said. “I have talked to Chelsi (Hamilton, Scotty’s widow) about it. We will be seeking all additional penalties including life with the possibility of parole after 25 years, life without the possibility of parole and death.”

Hall is being represented by public advocates Kim Green, of the Capital Trial Branch of the Office of Public Advocacy, and Brian Hewlett. Hall was indicted on one count of capital murder, two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, one count receiving stolen property and for being a persistent felony offender in the first degree in connection to the shooting of Officer Hamilton on the night of March 13.

Hall is being held in custody without bond in Carter County.

“If there are certain aggravating factors, then increased penalties are available, if the jury believes those aggravated factors,” Bartley said.

Bartley’s filing cited the aggravating factors as being; the killing of Hamilton was intentional and Hamilton was a police officer engaged in the lawful performance of his duties.

“The decision was not made lightly because it is the ultimate penalty allowed by law,” Bartley said. “In reviewing the evidence and discussing the case with the detectives, I made the decision to seek those enhanced penalties.”

Hall’s next court hearing is scheduled for May 24 in Pike Circuit Court.

By Chase Ellis
Appalachian News-Express