Ray the D.A. was introduced to the Lexington Rotary Club as Ray the “Digital” D.A. because of his office’s use extensive use of social media to get its Crime-Fighting message out to the public.
What is that message? Simple – Break the law – Suffer consequences.
Unfortunately, it’s not happening quite like that these days. So far in 2013 – 63% of the criminals who go through Fayette Circuit Court are being PROBATED and put right back on our streets to do what they do best:
Studies repeatedly show that a small percentage of the criminals commit the vast majority of crime. Some say 5% of the criminals commit 60-80% of the crime.
Hey, I’ve got an idea – How about let’s send those 5% to jail for a while and avoid the crimes they would have committed while they were allowed to remain on our streets.
In Jefferson County in 1979, Brian Moore kidnapped, robbed, and executed Virgil Harris, an elderly man who begged for his life. The killer drew a gun on the victim as he was returning to his car in a grocery store parking lot. He commandeered the car and threw the victim down an embankment several miles away. Moore then shot Harris from point blank range on the top of the head, in the face below the right eye, inside the right ear, and behind the right ear. Moore returned hours later to remove a wristwatch from the body. Virgil Harris had been on his way to celebrate his 77th birthday with his adult children.
Brian Moore was sentenced to death November 29, 1984.
In January of 2012 Elsmere Police were called to a local grade school after a female student reported being sexually abused by Kyle Sheets for several years. Detective Dennis McCarthy arranged for an interview of the child and during the interview the girl described repeated acts of sexual abuse by Sheets. These acts had begun when she was 6 years of age.
McCarthy searched Sheet’s place of living and found physical evidence that validated the girl’s statements. Along with the evidence of sexual abuse, McCarthy also found that Sheets possessed a handgun despite being previously convicted of a felony. McCarthy then arrested Sheets and charged him with numerous counts of Sodomy and Sexual Abuse of a child under 12 . He was also charged with possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Kate Bumgarner and Corey Plybon of Kenton County took the handgun by felon charge to trial first. This occurred on September 30th of 2013. The jury recommended a 6 year prison sentence for that charge. Next, they took the child molesting charges to trial on October 15th of 2013. During closing arguments, Kate Bumgarner urged jurors to hold Sheets accountable for his acts telling them Sheets “dragged his victim into his world of sexual perversion one from which she may never recover!”
The jury found Sheets guilty of two counts of 1st degree sodomy of a child under 12 and sexual abuse 1st degree of a child under 12. The trial concluded on October 16th when the jurors recommended that Sheets serve 40 years for each count of sodomy and 10 years for the sexual abuse. These are to be served consecutively for a total of 90 years in prison! The Kenton County Circuit Judge Martin Sheehan ran the sentence consecutively to six years recommended by another jury that convicted Sheets of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. This comes to a total of 96 years in prison! Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders said, “The system worked and justice was served! Though the victim has suffered irreparable harm, her courage in coming to court, along with countless hours of hard work by the trial team, means one of the worst child molesters we’ve seen will be locked up for decades!”
Defendant: Kyle Sheets Assistant Commonwealth Attorney: Kate Bumgarner
The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass is a healing place for sexually abused children and their families. According to the National Children’s Advocacy Center, a child is much more likely to be sexually abused than to be diagnosed with a disability, mental retardation, or autism. It is estimated that 1 out of every 8 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. The Children’s Advocacy Center strives to bring hope and healing to sexually abused children while also keeping communities safer from child predators.
Our center provides direct services to more than 600 children and 800 caregivers in Central KY, and that is at no cost to the families. We help families in every way possible, from the emotional distress to even providing help with groceries for the financially stressed. The Children’s Advocacy Center drives off of the financial gifts that people contribute and it helps them continue on the path to hope and healing.
“It costs too much to incarcerate criminals,” said our Legislature, criminal justice policy-makers and the anti-punishment lobby called the PEW Foundation. That’s what drove them to pass the infamous House Bill 463. Plain and simple, it was a law designed to drastically reduce the number of convicted criminals in our jails and prisons and leave them on our streets.
In December of 2012 Dominique Shanks, 33, pled guilty to Welfare Fraud and was sentenced to two years, probated for five years, and ordered to make restitution of approximately $9,000. In July of 2013 she pled guilty to receiving stolen property for pawning stolen jewelry, was sentenced to 12 months, and placed on probation for two years.
Shanks is no stranger to the criminal justice system, having been placed on probation at the age of 19 for the crime of theft by deception in July of 1999. Over the next 14 years Shanks was booked in the Fayette County Jail no less than 19 times and spent several years in state custody. She has four felony convictions for Welfare Fraud, Assault, Third Degree, Escape, and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in addition to 27 misdemeanor convictions including DUI, public intoxication, bad checks, and various forms of narcotics and theft offenses. She has failed to complete probation, including Drug Court, on two prior occasions, and was returned to the penitentiary three times for violating the terms of her parole. In spite of her record, Shanks was placed on probation again and remains out of custody.