1/14 Media Release

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Media Release: January 14 – 18, 2019

Attention: Assignment Editor
Director of Communications: Jeff Cooke
Office: (502) 595-2340 Ext. 3027
Cell / Text: (502) 262-5809
E-mail: jcooke@louisvilleprosecutor.com

NOTE: These represent only a few of the many cases which the Office of Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney is handling. If you have any comments, or need further information concerning these or any other matters please do not hesitate to call. An indictment is only an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until or unless found guilty. The enclosed court actions are subject to change.

According to the Rules of Criminal Procedure (RCr 3.02, 3.05, and 8.01), the arraignment of individuals whose case has been submitted directly to the grand jury shall take place within a reasonable time after the return of an indictment. If you are interested in a case that has been submitted directly to the grand jury, then please contact the court division in which it has been assigned to obtain the time and date of the arraignment.


Michael Vernon Hayes – 13CR2996 (Murder, Robbery in the First Degree, Tampering with Physical Evidence)

  • Mr. Vernon (DOB 12/31/80) is charged with the robbery and murder of Javon Dawson.  The facts of the case are as follows:  On November 3, 2013, the defendant entered 665 Lindell Avenue, Apartment 4, Jefferson County, Kentucky, the residence of Ms. Jovon Dawson and her three children, and murdered Ms. Dawson with a 12-inch long kitchen knife.  Ms. Dawson’s children were asleep in the apartment when this happened.  The defendant was thereby able to steal items from the victim including her purse, which was recovered in his apartment.  When officers arrived at his apartment during a neighborhood canvas, he hid in his hall closet a bag containing the purse and its contents, the knife, and some bloody clothing.  A capital trial was set to begin on January 11, 2019, but two days before the trial, the defendant entered an open plea to the charges.  The parties will return for sentencing arguments on April 12, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. in Division 3 of Jefferson Circuit Court.  At that time, it will be up to the Court to determine a penalty anywhere between 20 years and death.  Elizabeth Jones Brown and Critt Cunningham are the prosecutors.

Robin Bishop – 18CR3710 (Theft by Deception over $500, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree [9 Counts], Falsifying Business Records)

  • Mr. Bishop (DOB 12/01/74) is charged with theft from Carpenter’s Local 2501, which occurred from 2014 to 2017, while Mr. Bishop was the union chapter’s financial secretary. He was arraigned on January 7, 2019 and a first pretrial conference is scheduled for February 11, 2019 at 8:45 a.m. in Division 3 of Jefferson Circuit Court. Kaleb Noblett is the prosecutor.

Jasmine Wade– 16CR0127 (Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Tampering with Physical Evidence, and Abuse of a Corpse)

  • On July 22, 2015, Ms. Wade (DOB 01/04/00), then 15 years old, gave a live birth to a baby girl. The Defendant smothered the victim shortly after her birth causing her death. The Defendant removed the victim from the crime scene and hid the corpse in her purse. A Jury Trial was scheduled to begin on January 8, 2019, but at that time the defendant pled guilty to the above charges. The Commonwealth has recommended a sentence of 7 years in prison. Formal sentencing is scheduled for March 14, 2019 at 9:15 a.m. in Division 11 of Jefferson Circuit Court. Madison Shoffner is the prosecutor.

Amanda Nicole Needy – 18CR3594 (Murder [Complicity])

  • Ms. Needy (DOB 06/04/1990) is charged in connection with the February 17, 2017, murder of Nicholas Morris at 1201 Payne Street outside Ciao Ristorante. She was arraigned on the above charge on December 17, 2019. Her bond is currently set at $75,000. A first pretrial conference is scheduled for January 31, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. in Division 8 of Jefferson Circuit Court. Kaleb Noblett is the prosecutor.


Taylor Jeanine Gonsman – 18CR3502 (Assault in the Second Degree [4 counts], Knowing Abuse or Neglect of an Adult, Wanton Endangerment in the First Degree, Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree)

  • Ms. Gonsman (DOB 06/12/1997) is charged with assaulting the victim R.S. on multiple occasions between October 17, 2018 and November 17, 2018.  The victim is an adult with autism who, due to his mental condition, was unable to protect himself from the defendant’s abuse.  During the course of approximately one month, the defendant struck the victim with cords, shot him at close range with an airsoft rifle and handgun, burned him, cut him, strangled him, and unlawfully restrained him. The victim sustained multiple injuries as a result of the defendant’s actions. A pretrial conference is scheduled for January 15, 2019 at 9:15 a.m. Emily Lantz is the prosecutor.

Cassaundra Fitsgerald – 18CR3476 (Criminal Abuse in the Second Degree)

  • Ms. Fitsgerald (DOB 08/26/84) is charged with the October 10, 2018 assault of her child. The defendant strangled her ten year old son, T.T., in front of the minor victim’s 12 year old sister. The minor victim was transported by EMS to Kosair Children’s Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.   A pretrial conference is scheduled for January 16, 2019 at 9:15 a.m. in Division 13 of Jefferson Circuit Court. Danielle Yannelli is the prosecutor.

Mr. Robert Mitchell and Ms. Stephanie Smith – 17CR2122 & 17CR2554 (Unlawful Use of Electronic Means to Induce a Minor to Engage in Sexual Performance, Illegal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree – Methamphetamine, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor [2 counts])

  • Mr. Mitchell (DOB 10/13/73) and Ms. Smith (07/22/86) are charged with encouraging a minor to engage in a sexual performance. The two posted an ad to Craigslist in search of a young girl to perform sexual activities. An undercover agent responded and set up a meeting. When the defendants arrived to the meeting, they had their two minor children inside their vehicle and were in possession of methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia. A pretrial conference is scheduled for January 17, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in Division 4 of Jefferson Circuit Court. Madison Shoffner is the prosecutor