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June 5, 2015

KSP says there is "no evidence" of criminal activity on part of police officers in death of man arrested after graduation...

(Revised 6/6/2015)

ASHLAND, Ky. -- A spokesperson for the Kentucky State Police Post 14 said today there will be no suspension or paid leave for the two Louisa police officers who were involved in the taseing of Billy Collins, Jr. who died during his arrest last Friday night after graduation at Lawrence County High School.

Trooper Mike MuriellTrooper Mike Murriel said the decision to place an officer on paid leave during an investigation is up to the individual agency involved and not the KSP. 

"The incident was immediately reported to our offices and the investigation is being done by the KSP," Murriel said. "We have found no evidence of any criminal activity by the officers in our investigation so far, including on the video that was taken by the officers with their body cams."

A member of the Collins family called Lazer offices Thursday and said he and some other family members were "nervous" about the officers being left on duty during the investigation. "My wife is afraid to go out of the house, she is leery about what might happen with these policemen still on patrol," a family member who asked to not be identified said.

Murriel said the matter will be handed over to prosecutors for introduction to a Lawrence Grand jury to make sure all the facts are made public. He did not know when that will take place.

56 year-old Billy Collins, Jr. was involved in a minor traffic accident near LCHS just after graduation and when Sgt. Steven Wilburn of the LPD, who was attending graduation, investigated the scene Collins was arrested on three misdemeanor charges and taken to the LPD offices to await transfer to the Big Sandy Detention Center but, according to Murriel, he became "extremely beligerant" and began fighting with Wilburn and another Louisa policeman, Jordan Miller. It is not clear if Miller participated in the incident. (NOTE:  It was first reported that Chief deputy Mark Wheeler took part in the arrest but we have discovered that he was not involved until after the incident. We apologize to Sgt. Wheeler for the error.)

Wilburn used an agency issued taser gun in an effort to subdue Collins but he continued attempting to attack the officers and was tased at least two more times. Murriel did not say which of the other officers tased Collins. On the third tase Collins began turning blue and went into cardiac arrest. He was later pronounced dead by Lawrence County Coroner Mike Wilson at TRMC.

Collins had a heart attack two or three weeks ago and stints were placed in blood vessels near his heart but there is no evidence that the officers were aware of his health condition at the time of the arrest.

Louisa Mayor Harold Slone said today that he had spoken with KSP and they advised that they saw nothing in the preliminary investigation that indicated any criminal acts or charges against the city or county officers.

"Therefore Paid or Unpaid leave for the officers at this time isn’t warranted. The LPD has and will continue to cooperate fully with KSP in this investigation,” Slone said. He also noted that to have adequate coverage for the city all the officers on staff are needed.

Murriel said the body cam tapes will be made available for family members to review and then will be made public as soon as the investigation is complete.

The body cams for the officers were purchased last month by the city.

JUNE 4, 2015 

Husband and wife, with two young children, taken into custody on multiple charges

 

 

For the second time within 36 hours, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office conducted another successful drug raid in Fort Gay. Sheriff'd deputies executed a search warrant at apartment 15 at the Ft. Gay Apartments in the 8500 block of Orchard Street in Fort Gay just before 12 P.M. Wednesday morning that led to a married couple facing not only serious drug charges from the bust, but also additional charges because they had their children in the reportedly narcotic strewn home that police said they were dealing heroin and pills right in front of them.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Wayne County Magistrate Court, the sheriff's department stated they had received information that oxycodone pills was being kept, stored and sold from the apartment.

The occupants living at the apartment were identified as Allen Wayne Copley, 39, and his wife, Odessa Danielle Copley, 27.

In the second floor apartment, for which the front door is still in splinters, deputies found $500 in cash on Allen Copley, as well as a false battery with the reported oxycodone tablets inside. They also found a false Redbull can on the kitchen counter with 20 individual packs of heroin wrapped in aluminum foil. The drugs were all well within reach of the two children

According to the complaint report, Allen admitted that an unknown man from Michigan left him the pills to sell. He also told deputies he helped that man sell pills the night before.

Both Allen Copley and Odessa Copley admitted that they personally used some of the pills and heroin the evening before.

The Copleys have two children, a 7-month-old infant and a five year old who were in the home at the time of the bust.

Allen and Odessa Copley are each charged with five felony criminal charges: two counts of possession with intent to deliver, a single count of felony conspiracy and two counts of child neglect creating risk of injury.

The Copley's were both incarcerated at the Western Regional Jail.in Barboursville, where the pair's bond was set each separately at $100,000.

Their two children where taken into the care of Child Protective Services

The building manager of the apartments told police officials that all the tenants of the low-income housing go through an NCIC background check and credit check before getting a place to try to curb this type of activity.
Residents living at the apartment at around that area of the Fort Gay community were outraged and demanding police clear out the drug abusers.

“I walked out to seeing the guys and the guns running up the stairs,” Rachael Gilkerson said. 

Gilkerson watched from across the hall as Wayne County deputies forced their way inside.

Gilkerson was worried about the two children.

"My first thought was those kids." "It breaks my heart because those kids don't understand,” she said.
"I hope they learn a lesson and I hope the kids have a better future ahead of them,” Gilkerson said.

Another local resident, Jimmie Daniels stated: "No kid asks to be born into a drug family but they have to deal with that. They see it all the time so to them there's nothing wrong with that,”

"There's not a family in Fort Gay that's not been affected by drugs,” Daniels said.

Wayne law enforcement officials said that while fixing the community drug problem is never easy, fixing the problems in Fort Gay is getting harder because suspected criminals are getting better at hiding the drugs.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Department, Fort Gay Police Department and Wayne County Drug Enforcement assisted in the bust.

June 2, 2015

Sgt. Steven Wilburn accepting an award for service from the KSP in 2014

The death of Billy Collins marks the first time that a suspect has died while in custody of any Lawrence County agency since July 26, 1996, in the now infamous "Louisa-Fort Gay bridge incident" involving the arrest, alleged escape and disappearance, and then final discovery four months later of the decomposed remains of Dunlow, West Virginia resident Fannie Anderson that involved law enforcement agencies of Lawrence County and Wayne County West Virginia.

A LONG HISTORY OF PROBLEMS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT

Billy Collins has had several arrests by Lawrence County enforcement and other police agencies in Kentucky.

Collins was arrested 5 times just in the last 3 years on a laundry list of charges.

* Collins was arrested on July 5, 2012 by Louisa officer Steven Wilburn (the same officer he was arrested by and later assaulted in his current 2015 arrest) on charges of: ALCOHOL INTOXICATION IN A PUBLIC PLACE-1ST & 2ND OFFENSES; DISORDERLY CONDUCT, 2ND DEGREE; MENACING; SERVING BENCH WARRANT FOR COURT.

* Collins was arrested on July 11, 2012 and transported to Webster County, Kentucky to face charges of : DRIVING DUI SUSPENDED LICENSE - 1ST OFF (AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES); LEAVING SCENE OF ACCIDENT/FAIL TO RENDER AID OR ASSISTANCE.

* Collins was arrested on December  4, 2012 by Louisa officer Steven Wilburn (the same officer he was arrested by and later assaulted in his current 2015 arrest) and was charged with: ASSAULT, 4TH DEGREE (MINOR INJURY); DISORDERLY CONDUCT, 2ND DEGREE. (Collins was charged when he got out of the passenger side of a pickup truck and ran up to then Louisa mayor Ted Preston at his home and threw hot coffee on the mayor and ran. He later said the mayor had refused to have breakfast with him and that's why he did it. The mayor was not seriously injured.)

*  Collins was arrested on March 29, 2013 by Louisa Police Chief Greg Fugitt and was charged with: SERVING BENCH WARRANT FOR COURT.

*  Collins was arrested on July 9, 2014 by Lawrence County deputy Mason Keefer and was charged with: RECKLESS DRIVING; OPERATING MOTOR VEHICLE U/INFLU ALC/DRUGS/ETC. .08 (AGGRAVATED CIRCUMSTANCE) 1ST OFFENSE; OPERATING ON SUSPENDED OR REVOKED OPERATOR LICENSE; DRIVING ON DUI SUSPENDED LICENSE -1ST OFFENSE; LEAVING SCENE OF ACCIDENT-FAILURE TO RENDER AID OR ASSISTANCE; CONTEMPT OF COURT LIBEL/SLANDER RESISTANCE TO ORDER.

Collins was also charged last year with assault when he got out of the passenger side of a pickup truck and ran up to then Louisa mayor Ted Preston at his home and threw hot coffee on the mayor and ran. He later said the mayor had refused to have breakfast with him and that's why he did it. The mayor was not seriously injured.

Described as 'major dealer in Wayne County'

JUNE 2, 2015 - written by WADE QUEEN

A Fort Gay, West Virginia man that Wayne law enforcement officials called a “major dealer in the county” has been arrested on drug charges.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit, with assistance from the West Virginia.State Police, say they arrested William “Willy” Cook, 53, at his home Monday night.

Cook was charged with Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Oxycodone), Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (Oxycodone and Alprazolam) and Cultivation of Marijuana.

Investigators say they seized Oxycodone, Alprazolam, 15 marijuana plants, drug ledgers and cash.

Police officials also say they received numerous complaints about Cook since August 2014.

Drivers caught speeding make for big arrests

May 18 - May 27, 2015

 

LOUISA - A Louisa man was arrested on vehicle and drug offenses Wednesday, May 27, along Young's Branch on US 23 in Lawrence County after being pulled over for speeding 20 MPH over the limit.

ComptonJohn G. Compton, 49, is charged with two counts of possession of marijuana, illegal possession of a controlled substance 2nd degree, operating vehicle under the influence, failure to produce insurance card, failure to register transfer of motor vehicle, failure of owner to maintain required insurance 1st offense, operating vehicle with expired operators license, instructional permit, and operating motor vehicle under influence of alcohol/drugs 2nd offense.

According to police reports, arresting officer Mason Keeper observed vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on US 23, clocking the car speed at 75 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.

Compton was unable to provide proof of insurance and a valid drivers license at the time. His vehicle also had tags that expired in 2013 and were from Ohio, accoring to the report. He had glassy eyes when Keeper approached. Subject had possession of marijuana and a bottle of pills in his pocket believed to be Neurontin, according to the report. He admitted to taking Neurontin and performed a field sobriety test. Keeper said the suspect could not keep proper stance during the field test and had to use his arms to balance, the report said.

The subject was very cooperative to the officer when asked about the marijuana and pills found in his pockets, according to the report.

Compton was taken into custody and transported to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Lawrence County.

 

Marcum arrested after high speed chase

 LOUISA - A Louisa man was arrested on numerous traffic-related offenses Thursday along Reuben's Branch Road in Lawrence County after allegedly fleeing from authorities. 

Justin E. MarcumJustin E. Marcum, 28, is charged with first-degree fleeing or evading police, reckless driving, first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, first-degree wanton endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident/failure to render aid or assistance, resisting arrest, first-degree fleeing or evading police on foot, failure to wear a seatbelt, failure of non-owner operator to maintain required insurance, no or expired Kentucky registration receipt and driving on a DUI-suspended license.

According to the arrest report, Marcum was traveling north on U.S. 23, and the officer observed that he wasn't wearing a shoulder belt and attempted to make a traffic stop.

Marcum continued to ignore the deputy's emergency lights and siren as a direction to stop or pull over to the berm, the report said.

Marcum drove at speeds greater than the posted speed limit, creating substational danger to the officer, the report said. He also continued north to Rueben's Branch Road, where he hit another occupied vehicle twice at a high rate of speed, creating substantial danger to human life and serious physical injury, the report said.

After making contact with another vehicle and causing an accident, Marcum continued driving on Rueben's Branch Road until his vehicle would not travel any further, the report said. He then exited the vehicle and continued to flee on foot into the woods, failing to stop or obey verbal commands to stop for the officer, according to the report.

Marcum was taken into custody and transported to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Johnson County.

 

Other arrests in Lawrence County...

- Hansel Ray Wiley, 45, of Louisa, was arrested on May 18, 2015 at 7:45 p.m. by deputy Mark Wheeler of the Lawrence County Sheriff Office and was charged with:

Operating with suspended license, failure to maintain insurance - second offense, no registration plate, and failure to register transfer of motor vehicle. 

Arrest report notes"Stopped above suspect due to prior knowledge of suspended license, subject did not have insurance on vehicle. Did not have current/correct plates/ Subject also had not transferred vehicle as required by RRS."

Wiley also served a bench warrant with $300 cash bond.

 

- Carmel Stacy, 35, of Inez, was arrested on May 18, 2015 at 5:50 p.m. by deputy Mark Wheeler of the Lawrence County Sheriff Office and was charged with: 

Failure to wear seatbelt, operating on suspended license.

Arrest report notes:

"Stopped above for not wearing seat belt, ran [operators license] provided and came back suspended for FTA/FTPF Martin Co. case and $25 seat belt ticket listed under Stacy Carmel."

Stacy also served bench warrant - FTP $183 or serve @ $50 per day in jail.

- Scott K. Gillespie, 47, of Ulysses, Kentucky, was arrested on May 19, 2015 at 9:38 p.m. by deputy Mason Keefer of the Lawrence County Sheriff Office and was charged with:

Speeding 21 MPH over the limit, menacing, and resisting arrest.

Arrest report notes:

"Above vehicle traveling north on U.S. 23 at a high rate of speed, locked with radar at 76 MPH in a 55 MPH zone. While attempting to write a citation in my car the above subject (who was also the driver) exited the vehicle and opened the trunk. I told him to sit back in the drivers seat and he said no. I told him once more and he again said no and reached back in the trunk. I ordered him to stop. I told him to put his hands behind his back and he said no. I grabbed his right arm and placed a cuff on it at which time he attempted to pull away twisting my right pinky finger. I had to push both hands behind his back. He stopped resisting arrest when I told him I was going to take him."

- Christopher M. Fugitt, 21, of Louisa, was arrested on May 20, 2015 at 11:16 p.m. by deputy Mason Keefer of the Lawrence County Sheriff Office and was charged with:

Rear license plate not illuminated, carrying of a concealed and deadly weapon, failure to wear seat belt, inadequate silencer (vehicle muffler).

Arrest report notes:

"Above subject traveling North on Route 3. License was not illuminated. Vehicle did not have a visible exhaust and was very loud. There was a pistol under not visible in the seat. The above subject did not have a conceal carry license. The passenger was wanted for trafficking drugs. The passenger did not see the firearm in the vehicle. The driver and passenger were not buckled."

 

- Justin E. Marcum, 28, of Louisa, was arrested on May 21, 2015 at 12:21 p.m. Marcum was charged with:

First-degree fleeing or evading police, reckless driving, first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, first-degree wanton endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident/failure to render aid or assistance, resisting arrest, first-degree fleeing or evading police on foot, failure to wear a seatbelt, failure of non-owner operator to maintain required insurance, no or expired Kentucky registration receipt and driving on a DUI-suspended license.

Arrest record notes:

"Observed above subject in above vehicle operating without shoulder strap belt. North bound on U.S. HWY 23. Attempting to make contact or stop subject. He did not acknowledge emergency lights or siren to pull over; continued North on U.S. 23 at high rate of speed. Continued to ignore this officers lights and siren as a direction to stop or pill over to the berm. Above subject drove at speeds greater than the posted speed limit creating substantial danger to this officer and also continued north bound on Rueben's Branch Road where at a high rate of speed, above subject hit another vehicle occupied twice creating substantial danger to human life and serious physical injury. After making contact with another vehicle and causing an accident, above subject continued driving on Rueben's Branch Rd. until above vehicle would not travel any further. Above subject exited vehicle on foot and continued to flee into the woods, failing to stop or obey verbal commands to stop from this officer."

 

- Sarah S. Howell, 33, of Kermit, West Virginia, was arrested on May 22, 2015 at 9:34 p.m. by deputy Mason Keefer of the Lawrence County Sheriff Office and was charged with:

Failure to produce insurance card.

Arrest record notes:

"I have no knowledge on this case."

Howell is serving bench warrant for court.

 

- Kenneth L. Fitch, 42, of Blaine, Kentucky, was arrested on May 25, 2015 at 11:49 p.m. by deputy Dwayne Bowen of the Lawrence County Sheriff Office and was charged with:

Alcohol intoxication in a public place (first and second offense). *All other traffic offense not listed.

Arrest record notes:

"Officer served warrant on above and has no other information on case."

 

- Cotton C. Collins, 23, Genoa, West Virginia, was arrested on May 22, 2015 at 11:55 p.m. and was charged with:

Operating motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs etc... .08 and motor vehicle with one headlight.

Arrest record notes:

"Observed above subject traveling South on KY 2565. Vehicle's passenger side headlight was out. Upon contact with the subject I could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. He had red, glassy eyes and slurred speech. He said he had taken seven to nine shots of vodka. Standard field sobriety test - one leg stand - put foot down, lifted arms to balance, foot not six inches off ground, walk and turn -took eight steps up, using arms to balance, could not hold start position."

 

- Victoria Carter, 61, of Lowmansville, Kentucky, was arrested on May 26, 2015 at 10:30 p.m. by deputy Mason Keefer of the Lawrence County Sheriff Office and was charged with:

One headlight out on motor vehicle, driving on suspended and expired license, and bond jumping - first degree.

Arrest record notes:

"Vehicle had passenger headlight out. Kentucky State Police advised her license was suspended." - on vehicle stop arrested.

"I have no knowledge of this case." - on bond jumping arrest.