In Kentucky, the death penalty is not a possible punishment in every murder case. Under Kentucky law, the death penalty only applies in murders in which an aggravating circumstance exists.
What is an aggravating circumstance? The death penalty is a possible punishment in the following aggravated murders:
A murder committed by a person who has a prior conviction for a capital offense, or who has a substantial history of serious assaultive convictions;
A murder which occurs during the commission of the following crimes:
Arson First Degree,
Robbery First Degree,
Burglary First Degree,
Rape First Degree,
Sodomy First Degree;
A murder which occurs as a result of a destructive device, weapon or other device which would normally be hazardous to more than one (1) person;
A murder committed for money or profit;
A murder of a prison guard (on duty) by a prisoner;
An intentional murder of more than one (1) person;
An intentional murder of a:
State or local public official,
Sheriff, or Deputy Sheriff, while in the line of duty;
A murder of a victim, while the victim was protected from the murderer by a:
Emergency Protective Order (EPO),
Domestic Violence Order (DVO),
Or, any other order designed to protect the victim
Ralph Baze, then and now.
Male/White, 36-years-old at the time
Victims: Sheriff Steve Bennett & Deputy Arthur Briscoe
Ralph Baze resided in Powell County, Kentucky. He had been convicted twice of felonies and was wanted in Ohio for Assault of a Police Officer, Bail Jumping, Receiving Stolen Property, and Flagrant Nonsupport. On January 15, 1992, the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office in Toledo, Ohio, notified the Powell County authorities that they wished to extradite Baze on the felony counts. When Deputy Sheriff Arthur Briscoe arrived at Baze’s cabin to arrest him, Baze escaped through a trapdoor, retrieved his SKS assault rifle from behind the cabin, and fled into the woods. Deputy Briscoe left to recruit additional officers to assist in the arrest. He came back, followed by Sheriff Steve Bennett.
Gunfire ensued. Later, Baze testified that Deputy Briscoe had shot him first, striking him in the leg. Baze shot back at the officers. Sheriff Bennett opened the back door of the police cruiser, crossing directly into Baze’s line of fire. Baze shot him three times in the back and then started to walk toward Deputy Briscoe, who continued to shoot at Baze over the hood of the cruiser until he ran out of ammunition. Baze was too close to give him time to reload. Deputy Briscoe attempted to escape, but he was shot in the back by Baze, who then approached the injured officer and shot him in the head at point-blank range. Baze then fled on foot to adjoining Estill County where he surrendered without incident that evening. Ralph Baze was tried in Rowan County, convicted, and sentenced to death February 4, 1994 for shooting the officers.
Additional facts about the case: Aggravating circumstance which made this case eligible for the Death Penalty: the murder of a sheriff and deputy sheriff, while in the line of duty, and multiple murders.
Was previously scheduled to be executed in 2007.
This killer wants pen pals. This is part of his webpage request. What a guy!
“Hi my name is Ralph and I am a Death Row inmate. I am looking for a few pen pals that like to write and maybe help get some of my paper work transferred to computer disk. Trying to work with and through the system is not getting me anywhere so I need to be able to find a voice on the outside of these walls to help me get my story out. Hopefully finding a friend or 2 along the way too. Would like a relationship with the right lady that could be more then Pen pals. Times get lonely in here.”
Ronnie Lee Bowling
Ronnie L. Bowling, then and now.
Male/White, 20 years old at the time
Victims: Marvin Hensley & Ronald Smith
In Laurel County in 1989, this killer, Ronnie L. Bowling, executed two service station attendants in separate robberies. He shot and killed a service station attendant during the early morning hours of January 20, 1989, shooting the victim six times in the head, chest and back. In the early morning hours of February 22, 1989, Bowling shot and killed a service station owner in the head and hand. Bowling was arrested after attempting to rob a third service station on February 25, 1989. Bowling entered the station and had a brief conversation with the owner. As he turned to leave, he pulled out a revolver and began shooting at the owner, who was able to avoid the gunfire. The Kentucky State Police were notified and they followed Bowling for some thirty miles before he finally stopped and was arrested.
Additional facts about the case: Aggravating circumstances which made this case eligible for the Death Penalty: multiple murders and murders which occurred during the commission of a robbery.
Ronnie Lee Bowling was sentenced to death December 9, 1992.
Thomas Clyde Bowling
Thomas Clyde Bowling, then and now.
Male/White, 37-years-old at the time
Victims: Tina and Eddie Earley, 2-year-old son shot but survived
In Fayette County in 1990, this killer, Thomas Clyde Bowling, caused his vehicle to collide with a vehicle occupied by Tina and Eddie Earley and their two-year-old son while they were parked in front of their small dry cleaning business. Bowling exited his vehicle, approached the Earley’s vehicle, and intentionally fired gunshots at them at point-blank range, killing Tina and Eddie Earley and wounding their child. Bowling then returned to his car but walked back to the Earley’s car to make sure they were dead, and then drove away.
Additional facts about the case: Aggravating circumstance which made this case eligible for the Death Penalty: multiple murders.
Was previously scheduled to be executed in 2004.
Virginia Caudill, then and now.
Female/White, 39 years old at the time
Victim: Lonetta White
In Fayette County on March 15, 1998, Virginia Caudill and accomplice Jonathon Goforth entered the home of a 73-year-old female and beat her to death, shattering her skull. The victim was the mother of Caudill’s estranged boyfriend and the two had gone to her home to ask her for money, supposedly to buy crack cocaine. Caudill and Goforth then ransacked her home and stole numerous items of valuable personal property, including guns, jewelry and a mink coat. They then wrapped her body in a rug and placed it in the trunk of her own car and drove her to a rural area in Fayette County and set the car on fire. The victim was burned so badly that she could not be recognized.
Additional facts about the case: Aggravating circumstance which made this case eligible for the Death Penalty: murder which occurred during the commission of a burglary and robbery.
Virginia Caudill was sentenced to death March 24, 2000.
Kevin Wayne Dunlap
Male/White, 36 years old at the time
Victims: Kristy Frensley (stabbed but survived), Kayla Williams, Kourtney and Ethan Frensley
On October 15, 2009, Kevin Wayne Dunlap approached Kristy Frensley in her backyard before forcing her inside her home at gunpoint, where he raped and stabbed her. When her three children, a 5-year-old boy and his 14 and 17-year-old sisters, arrived home from school, he fatally stabbed them and set fire to the home. The mother survived by playing dead. The boy’s stab wounds were so severe that some of his ribs were broken.
Dunlap was convicted and sentenced to death on March 19, 2010 for the following crimes: Murder (Capital) – 3 counts; Kidnapping-Victim Death (Capital) – 3 counts; Kidnapping-With Serious Physical Injury; Rape 1st Degree with Serious Physical Injury; Arson 1st Degree; Criminal Attempt-Murder; Burglary 1st Degree; and Tampering With Physical Evidence – 3 counts.
Additional facts about the case: Aggravating circumstance which made this case eligible for the Death Penalty: A murder which occurs during the commission of the following crimes: Arson First Degree, Rape First Degree, an intentional murder of more than one person;
Roger Dale Epperson
Roger Epperson, Then & Now
Male/White, 35 years old at the time
Victims: Edwin & Bessie Morris, Dr. Roscoe Acker (survived), Tammy Acker
Case #1: On June 16, 1985, Roger Dale Epperson and two accomplices went to the home of Edwin and Bessie Morris in Gray Hawk, Jackson County, Kentucky. Edwin Morris’s body was later found lying on the kitchen floor, gagged, with his hands tied behind his back, and with a pillow near his head. Bessie Morris’s body was found on a bed in the bedroom with her hands tied behind her back and her feet tied together.
Edwin Morris had been shot twice, once in the forehead and once in the right side of the head. Bessie Morris died of two gunshot wounds to the back, both of which were fatal, but death did not immediately result from either. It was determined that $35,000 in cash had been stolen, along with a diamond cluster ring, a set of diamond earrings and a .38 caliber handgun.
Epperson was convicted and sentenced to death for the double murders but the convictions were ultimately set aside by the Court. He was re-tried in 1996 and convicted of Capital Murder, first-degree Armed Robbery and first-degree Burglary.
Case #2: On the night of August 8, 1985, Roger Dale Epperson and two accomplices entered the home of Fleming-Neon, Letcher County, Kentucky physician Roscoe Acker, posing as F.B.I. agents. They choked Dr. Acker unconscious and stabbed his daughter, Tammy Acker, to death while robbing a bedside safe of $1.9 million, handguns and jewelry. Dr. Acker survived, but Tammy Acker was found dead with a butcher knife stuck through her chest and imbedded in the floor. She had been stabbed a total of 12 times.
Samuel Steven Fields
Samuel Steven Fields, Then & Now
Male/White, 21 years old at the time
Victim: Bess Horton
During the early morning hours of August 19, 1993, in Carter County, Samuel Fields entered the home of 84-year-old Bess Horton through a back window. He stabbed her in the head and slashed her throat. She died as a result of multiple sharp force injuries of the head and neck. The large knife used to slash her throat was found protruding from her right temple.Fields was tried and sentenced to death in 1997. That death sentence was reversed for retrial and, in January 2004, he was re-sentenced to death.
Additional facts about the case: Aggravating circumstance which made this case eligible for the Death Penalty: A murder which occurs during the commission of the following crime: Burglary First Degree.
Robert Foley, then and now.
Male/White, 33 years old at the time
Victims: Rodney Vaughn, Lynn Vaughn, Kimberly Bowersock, Calvin Reynolds, Lillian Contino, Jerry McMillan
Case #1: In 1991, in Laurel County, Kentucky, Robert Foley shot and killed brothers Rodney and Lynn Vaughn in Foley’s home. Ten other adults were at the home, along with five children. Other male guests had checked their pistols in the kitchen cabinet, but Foley kept his .38 colt snub-nose revolver concealed in the small of his back, under his belt and shirt. The first victim consumed enough alcohol to become belligerent and two fights erupted between Foley and the first victim. Foley admits that he started the first fight and later in the evening shot and killed the first victim.
The deceased received multiple gunshot wounds to the left arm and body which resulted in hemorrhaging and death. Shortly thereafter, the second victim was killed at a time when only Foley, the victim and another man remained inside the house. The victim died as a result of multiple penetrating and perforating gunshot wounds to the head and extremities. After the killings, Foley, and three other individuals dumped the bodies into a creek in Laurel County. Foley was sentenced to Death on September 2, 1993 in Laurel County.
Case #2: In 1989, in Laurel County, Kentucky, Robert Foley shot and killed Kimberly Bowersock, Calvin Reynolds, Lillian Contino and Jerry McMillan. All four drove from Ohio to Laurel County. Foley became aware that Bowersock was in the area. He was angry because he believed that Bowersock had informed his parole officer that Foley was selling drugs. Foley found Bowersock and immediately grabbed her by the hair. When Reynolds came to her assistance, Foley pulled his pistol and shot Reynolds, then Bowersock, then Contino, then McMillan. He returned to Bowersock and shot her again in the back of the head. He took the victims’ valuables, placed their bodies in a septic tank, and then covered them with lime and cement. The bodies were found two years later. Foley was sentenced to Death on April 27, 1994, in Madison County, Kentucky, following a change of venue.
Additional facts about the case: Aggravating circumstance which made this case eligible for the Death Penalty: An intentional murder of more than one person.
Fred Furnish, then and now.
Male/White, 30 years old at the time
Victim: Ramona Jean Williamson
On June 25, 1998 Fred Furnish murdered 66-year-old Ramona Jean Williamson in Kenton County in 1998 by strangling her. The victim was found by her housekeeper immersed in the water in her bathtub. Furnish stole her bank account number and debit cards and then used them to withdraw money to throw a party for his friends.
Furnish was sentenced to Death on July, 8 1999. In 2002, the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed his sentence because the jury wasn’t told to consider a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, which the Kentucky General Assembly had authorized after the crime but before the conviction. In 2004, a second jury agreed Furnish should be sentenced to death.
John Roscoe Garland
John Roscoe Garland Then and Now.
Male/White, 54 years old at the time
Victims: Willa Jean Ferrier, Crystal Conaster, Chris Boswell
On March 9, 1997 John Roscoe Garland murdered three people in McCreary County. Garland had been in a relationship with 26-year old Willa Jean Ferrier. He suspected she was pregnant by another man. Garland, along with his son Roscoe, went to the mobile home where his former girlfriend was with two friends, a man and a woman, and shot all three to death. Garland’s son was the key witness at the trial, but Garland claimed his son was lying and that the murder weapon belonged to his son.
Garland was sentenced to Death on February 15, 1999.
Johnathan Wayne Goforth
Johnathan Wayne Goforth Then and Now
Male/White, 39 years old at the time
Victim: Lonetta White
On March 15, 1998, Johnathan Wayne Goforth and his accomplice, Virginia Caudill, entered the home of 73 year old Lonetta White and beat her to death. Her skull was shattered. After killing her, they burglarized her home. They then placed her body in the trunk of her own car and drove her to a rural area in Fayette County and set the car on fire. The victim was burned so badly that she could not be recognized.
Johnathan Wayne Goforth was sentenced to death March 24, 2000.
Randy Haight Then and Now
Male/White, 33 years old at the time
Victims: Patricia Vance, David Omer
Randy Haight escaped from the Johnson County Jail August 18, 1985 with his girlfriend and another male inmate. He was there while awaiting trials in three counties. He stole guns and several cars; shot at a KY. State Police Trooper and caused another police officer’s death in a gunfight. He executed a young couple while they were inside their car. He shot the man in the face, chest, shoulder, and back of the head and shot the woman in the shoulder, temple, the back of the head, and through the eye. He spent all but two of his 15 adult years in four Ohio, three Virginia, and four Kentucky prisons.
Randy Height was sentenced to death March 22, 1994 for the murder of Patricia Vance and David Omer on August 22, 1985.
Leif Halvorsen Then and Now
Male/White, 29 years old at the time
Victims: Jacqueline Greene, Joe Norman, Joey Durham
On January 13, 1983 in Fayette County Leif Halvorsen, along with Mitchell Willoughby, executed a Jacqueline Green, Joe Norman, and Joey Durham. The teenage female and two male victims were killed inside a home they were remodeling. These killers shot the female eight times in the back of the head. They shot the younger male five times — in the back, testicles, right arm, left leg, and right temple. They shot the other male three times — in the back, in the chest, and in the back of his neck.
Leif Halvorsen was sentenced to death September 15, 1983.
Benny Lee Hodge
Benny Lee Hodge Then and Now
Male/White 34 years old at the time
Victims: Tammy Acker, Roscoe J. Acker (strangled but survived), Bessie Morris, Edwin Morris
Case #1: On August 8, 1985 Benny Hodge, along with Roger Epperson, stabbed Tammy Acker 12 times with a butcher knife during a robbery at her father’s home in Letcher County. The victim’s body was found with the butcher knife stuck through her chest and imbedded in the floor. Also her father, Roscoe J. Acker, was strangled with an electric cord but he survived.
Case #2: This killer was arrested in Florida. Hodge murdered Bessie Morris and Edwin Morris during a robbery in their home in Jackson County on August 15, 1985. Mr. and Mrs. Morris were found with their hands and feet tied behind them. Mrs. Morris was shot twice in the back. Mr. Morris died as a result of a gunshot wound to his head, two blunt force head injuries and obstructed breathing caused by a ligature gag.
Benny Lee Hodge was sentenced to death June 20, 1986. He received a second death sentence on November 22,1996.
James Hunt Then and Now
Male/White 56 years old at the time
Victim: Bettina Hunt
James Hunt shot his estranged wife Bettina Hunt in Floyd County November 30, 2004. When the officers arrived at the scene, they found the body of Bettina Hunt with bullet wounds to her arms, cheek area, face, and a wound between the bridge of her nose and left eye. The victim’s infant granddaughter was also in the home. The victim was pronounced dead at the residence. Troopers were advised that the victim’s estranged husband was involved in a one-vehicle accident approximately 200 feet from the residence. Upon further investigation and collection of evidence, James Hunt was lodged in the Floyd County Detention Center, charged with Murder.
Trial began on May 15,2006. The jury returned a verdict of Guilty to Murder, Burglary, Burglary 1st Degree, and Wanton Endangerment 1st Degree. Hunt was sentenced to Death on the Murder charge on July 28, 2006. Hunt consented to allow the court to sentence him on the remaining charges.
Donald Johnson Then and Now.
Male/White 22 years old at the time.
Victim: Helen Madden
Donald Johnson stabbed 61-year old Helen Madden 24 times in Floyd County in 1981. Before killing the victim, the killer mutilated her vagina and rectum with a ball point pen, bit her several times, and then disemboweled her with a knife.
This killer was arrested on December 1, 1989 and charged with murder, robbery and burglary. The charge of 1st Degree Sexual Assault was added later.
Donald Johnson was sentenced to death October 1, 1997.
David Eugene Matthews
David Eugene Matthews Then and Now.
Male/White 33 years old at the time.
Victims: Mary Matthews, Magdalene Cruse
On June 29, 1981 David Matthews burglarized the home of his estranged wife, Mary Matthews’, in Jefferson County. He executed Magdalene Cruse, his mother-in-law, by shooting her in the back of the head: she agonized and convulsed for 8 hours before dying.
David Eugene Matthews was tried and convicted on October 8, 1982. He was then sentenced to death November 11, 1982.
William Harry Meece
William Harry Meece Then and Now.
Male/White 31 years old at the time.
Victims: Joseph Wellnitz, Elizabeth Wellnitz, Dennis Wellnitz
William Harry Meece burglarized a family’s home in Adair County in 2003. On February 26, 2003 he shot Joseph and Elizabeth Wellnitz and their son, Dennis Wellnitz in their home, in Columbia,KY.
Meece was convicted of 3 counts of Murder, Burglary in the 1st Degree and Robbery in the 1st Degree. He was originally indicted in Adair County , case 03-CR-00020. However, on June 30, 2006 a change of venue was entered and the case was moved to Warren County, case 06-CR-00656.
William Harry Meece was sentenced to death November 9, 2006.
John Mills Then and Now
Male/White 25 years old at the time.
Victim: Arthur Phipps
On August 30, 1985 John Mills murdered his 79-year-old landlord, Arthur Phipps, during a burglary and robbery in Knox County. This killer stabbed the victim 29 times and struck him in the head five times with a blunt object. He stole the victim’s change purse containing $4.60.
John Mills was sentenced to death October 18, 1996.
Brian Moore Then and Now
Male/White 22 years old at the time
Victim: Virgil Harris
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.
Melvin Lee Parrish
Melvin Lee Parrish Then and Now
Male/Black 34 at the time
Victims: Rhonda Allen, LaShawn Allen, Jonathan Allen
On December 5, 1997, Melvin Lee Parrish stabbed and killed his cousin Rhonda Allen who was six-months pregnant, and her 10 year-old-son LaShawn Allen. Parrish also stabbed Rhonda Allen’s 5-year-old son Jonathan 9 times. The five year-old survived and was able to identify the killer as the person who stabbed his mother and brother to death. Parrish was trying to take money from the woman when the murders occurred.
Melvin Lee Parrish was sentenced to death February 1, 2001 in Jefferson County for the murder of Jonathan Allen. He was sentenced to life without parole for the murder of Rhonda allen, 20 years enhanced to life for the attempted murder of Jonathan Allen and 20 years enhanced to 50 years for the robbery.
Parramore Sanborn Then and Now
Male/White 38 at the time
Victim: Barbara Heilman
On October 12, 1983 Parramore Sanborn kidnapped, raped, sodomized, and murdered Barbara Heilman, a mother of three, in Henry County. He tore the victim’s hair, stabbed her nine times, and dumped her body alongside a country road.
Sanborn was originally tried and found guilty of capital murder on March 8, 1984. The court imposed the death sentence on March 16, 1984. The Kentucky Supreme Court’s reversal of Sanborn’s conviction in June, 1988 resulted in a new trial in October, 1989. Sanborn was again found guilty of murder, kidnapping, rape and sodomy in a retrial in Louisville Kentucky and sentenced to death May 14, 1991 in Henry County.
David Lee Sanders
David Sanders Then and Now
Male/White 27 years old at the time
Victims: Jim Brandenburg, Wayne Hatch
On January 28,1987 David Lee Sanders executed Jim Brandenburg and Wayne Hatch by shooting them in the back of the head during a grocery store robbery in Madison County. One victim died almost instantly, the other died two days later. The killer confessed to these crimes and to the attempted execution of another grocery storekeeper one month earlier in which the victim survived a gunshot to the back of his head.
David Lee Sanders was sentenced to death June 5, 1987.
Michael St. Clair
Michael St. Clair Then and Now
Male/White 34 years old at the time
Victim: Frances C. Bradey
Michael St. Clair escaped from an Oklahoma jail where he was awaiting trial for two murder charges. He carjacked a man in Colorado for his truck and then shot the man. He then traveled to a Bullitt County rest-stop on October 6, 1991, where he carjacked Frances C. Brady. He took Brady to an isolated area where he handcuffed him and then shot him twice, killing him. He then returned to the rest-stop where he burned Brady’s car and shot at a state policeman while being apprehended.
Michael St. Clair was sentenced to death September 14, 1998 for murder in Bullitt County. On February 20, 2001, St. Clair received a second death sentence in Hardin County for the capital kidnapping charge. The Bullitt County death sentence for murder was reversed and remanded to conduct a new capital sentencing phase due to the trial courts instruction erroneously failed to permit the jury to consider a sentence of life without the possibility of probation or parole. However, in 2005 a new Bullitt County jury again sentenced St. Clair to death. In Octboer 2005, the Hardin County death sentence for capital kidnapping was reversed and remanded due to various trial errors.
Vincent Stopher Then and Now
Male/White 24 years old at the time
Victim: Deputy Gregory Hans
On March 10, 1997 Vincent Stopher was assaulting a man in Jefferson County when Deputy Gregory Hans pulled over to assist the assault victim. While Hans was exiting his vehicle, Stopher struggled with the deputy, taking his gun. Stopher then used the deputy’s gun to shoot him in the face, killing him.
Vincent Stopher was sentenced to death March 23, 1998 in Jefferson County.
Victor D. Taylor
Victor D. Taylor Then and Now
Male/Black 24 years old at the time
Victims: Scott Nelson, Richard Stephenson
On September 29, 1984 Victor D. Taylor kidnapped, robbed, bound, gagged and executed Scott Nelson and Richard Stephenson,two high school students who became lost on their way to a football game, in Lousiville, Kentucky. The killer sodomized one of the victims before executing him. Taylor told four people he had killed the victims. The personal property of the victims was found in his possession.
Victor D. Taylor was arrested on October 4, 1984 and was sentenced to death May 23, 1986.
William Eugene Thompson
William Eugene Thompson Then and Now
Male/White 35 years old at the time
Victim: Fred Cash
William Eugene Thompson was serving a life sentence for a murder for hire in Pike County. While serving that sentence in 1986 at the Western Kentucky Farm Center in Graves County, he reported for prisoner work detail. While on work detail on May 9, 1986, he took a hammer and hit a Fred Cash, a prison guard, 12 times in the head, killing him. After killing the guard, he took the victim’s body to a nearby barn where he took the victim’s wallet, keys, and knife. He then drove the prison van to a bus station to try and escape.
Police arrested Thompson in a bus station on his way to Indiana. Thompson was convicted and sentenced to death in October 1986 in Lyon County, but seven years later the state Supreme Court threw out the conviction and ordered a new trial. Thompson also won a change of venue from Lyon County to Graves County. Thompson entered a plea of guilty on January 12, 1995 to the following charges: Capital Murder, Robbery in the First Degree, and Escape in the First Degree. Thompson was sentenced to death March 18, 1998.
Roger Wheeler Then and Now
Male/Black 36 years old at the time
Victims: Nigel Malone, Nairobi Warfield
In Jefferson County, in 1997, while on parole for 10 counts of Robbery, Roger Wheeler stabbed the victim Nigel Malone nine times and left him to bleed to death. This killer strangled and stabbed the victim Nairobi Warfield, who was three months pregnant, with scissors which he left embedded in her neck.
Karu Gene White
Karu Gene White Then and Now
Male/White 21 years old at the time
Victims: Charles Gross, Lula Gross, Sam Chaney
On February 12, 1979 Karu Gene White and two accomplices entered a Haddix, Kentucky store operated by two elderly men and an elderly woman. This killer beat Charles Gross, Lula Gross, and Sam Chaney, to death in the course of a robbery in Breathitt County. They were ages 74, 75, and 79. White and his accomplices took a billfold containing $7,000, coins, and a handgun. Due to the brutal nature of the fatal beatings, the victims had to be buried in body bags.
Karu Gene White was arrested on July 27, 1979. He was sentenced to death March 29, 1980 in Powell County for the murder of three Breathitt County residents.
Mitchell Willoughby Then and Now
Male/White 25 years old at the time
Victims: Jacqueline Greene, Joe Norman, Joey Durham
In Fayette County on January 13, 1983 Mitchell Willoughby, along with Leif Halvorsen, executed a teenage female, Jacqueline Greene, and two male victims, Joe Norman, and Joey Durham, inside a home they were remodeling. These killers shot the female eight times in the back of the head. They shot the younger male five times– in the back, the testicles, the right arm, the left leg, and the right temple. They shot the other male three times– in the back, the chest, and in the back of his neck. That night the killers attempted to dispose of the bodies by throwing them from the Brooklyn Bridge in Jessamine County, Kentucky.
Mitchell Willoughby was sentenced to death September 15, 1983 in Fayette County.
Gregory L. Wilson
Gregory L. Wilson Then and Now
Male/Black 31 years old at the time
Victim: Deborah Pooley
On May 29, 1987 Gregory L. Wilson kidnapped, robbed, raped and executed Deborah Pooley in Kenton County. After raping her, he strangled her to death despite her begging him not to kill her. The defendant went on a shopping spree with the victim’s credit cards. Her body was found weeks later near the Indiana-Illinois border. The date of her death had to be established by the extent of blowfly maggot development on her body.
Gregory L. Wilson previously served a prison sentence in Ohio on two counts of rape. He was sentenced to death October 31, 1988 in Kenton County for the kidnapping and murder of Deborah Pooley.
Robert Keith Woodall
Robert Keith Woodall Then and Now
Male/White 24 years old at the time
Victim: Sarah Hansen
On January 25, 1997 Robert Keith Woodall abducted a popular 16-year-old, Sarah Hansen, from a local convenient store as she returned a rented movie in Muhlenburg County in 1997. Woodall took the victim from the parking lot to a wooded area where he raped her, beat her, and used a box-cutter knife to slash her throat. Woodall then dragged and discarded her body in the icy Luzerne Lake. Results of an autopsy revealed that water was found in Sarah Hansen’s lungs and reports that she died as a result of drowning.
Robert Keith Woodall was sentenced to death September 4, 1998 in Caldwell County for Capital Murder, Capital Kidnapping and First Degree Rape.