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Ex-jailers enter pleas in death of inmate

January 5, 2019
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Messer

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. — Five Boyd County deputy jailers indicted last month on charges of first-degree manslaughter pleaded innocent Friday in Boyd County Circuit Court.

Judge George B. Davis III set a bond hearing for all five at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney Rhonda Copley. The deputy jailers are being held at other county jails around Kentucky on a $100,000 cash bond.

The grand jury last month indicted Zachary D. Messer, of Ashland; Brad A. Roberts, of Westwood, Kentucky; Alicia Leora Beller, of Putnam County, West Virginia; Jeremy F. Mattox, of Grayson, Kentucky; and Colton L. Griffith, of Flatwoods, Kentucky, on charges of first-degree manslaughter. The charge carries a maximum sentence, upon conviction, of 10 to 20 years in prison.

All five are charged with intentionally abusing or permitting the abuse of Michael Moore, 40, who was found dead Nov. 29 in the jail’s restraint chair in Catlettsburg. Moore was brought into the jail on a charge of public intoxication excluding alcohol (drugs) and died 36 hours later, according to Kentucky State Police.

An autopsy at the Medical Examiner’s Office in Frankfort, Kentucky, could not rule out criminal activity as a contributing factor in Moore’s death, according to a state police report.

Charles Shaun Finley, 36, was the second inmate at the Boyd County Detention Center to die at the jail last year. He died from an apparent drug overdose of fentanyl or fentanyl-related drugs, according to Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond.

The deaths led to the early retirement of Jailer Joe Burchett last month. William Hensley, who was elected county jailer last November, took over the job a month early.

Davis also set a pretrial conference in the case for 11 a.m. March 1, according to court records.

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