Category Archives: Media Releases

Media Release: Man Indicted in Crash Causing the Death of Madelynn Troutt

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OFFICE OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
30th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
THOMAS B. WINE, COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY

Media Release: April 23, 2021

Attention: Assignment Editor
Director of Communications: Jeff Cooke
Office: (502) 595-2300 Ext. 3027
Cell / Text: (502) 262-5809
E-mail: jcooke@louisvilleprosecutor.com

Yesterday the Jefferson County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Michael Jacob Dewitt charging him with Murder, Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Failure to Stop and Render Aid in connection with the March 1, 2021 crash in the 7800 block of Dixie Highway wherein the truck driven by Dewitt crossed the center line of the highway and struck the automobile being driven by Madelynn Troutt head on.

The indictment against Dewitt also included firearms, drug and theft charges relating to this and previous incidents.

Dewitt faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The case has been assigned to Division Twelve of Jefferson Circuit Court and Dewitt is expected to be formally arraigned there on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Justin Janes is the prosecutor.

CORRECTION

Under the current COVID scheduling of in-custody arraignments, the arraignment of Michael Jacob Dewitt (21-CR-0827) will be conducted on Thursday, April 29,2021 at 12:00 noon in Division Eleven of Jefferson Circuit Court rather than on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.

Media Release: Governor Signs Bill Closing Loophole Involving Incompetent Defendants Deemed Dangerous

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OFFICE OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
30th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
THOMAS B. WINE, COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY

Media Release: April 1, 2021

Attention: Assignment Editor
Director of Communications: Jeff Cooke
Office: (502) 595-2300 Ext. 3027
Cell / Text: (502) 262-5809
E-mail: jcooke@louisvilleprosecutor.com

Early this morning Governor Andy Beshear signed into law House Bill 310.  Included in this bill is language from Senate Bill 239 which creates a new chapter in the Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 202C.  KRS 202C provides a mechanism to protect the public from harm as well as ensure due process rights of a person accused of serious crimes who has been found incompetent to stand trial.

Prior to the adoption of this bill, a defendant accused of serious crimes who had been determined to be incompetent to stand trial and was considered to present a danger to himself or others as a result of his mental illness could be involuntarily hospitalized only if it was further determined that the defendant could reasonably benefit from treatment.  Were it determined that the defendant would not reasonably benefit from treatment he had to be released into the public.

This new chapter allows the Commonwealth Attorney to file a petition for an involuntary commitment for a person found incompetent to stand trial, is not likely to gain competency in the near future, is still a danger to himself or others but who would not benefit from additional treatment.  Following the filing of the petition, an evidentiary hearing would be held before a circuit court judge wherein the defendant would be represented by both an attorney as well as a guardian ad litem appointed by the Court.  The hearing would be held within twenty (20) days from the filing of the petition following an evaluation by two qualified medical health professionals.  In that hearing the Commonwealth would be required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is guilty of the charged offense and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that involuntary commitment is necessary.

If it is found that the defendant should be involuntarily committed, the defendant shall be placed in a forensic psychiatric facility.  Following the initial commitment the chapter requires a series of follow-up reviews to determine if continued involuntary commitment is necessary.  The defendant would have all the rights of any patient who is being treated at a medical facility.

I wish to publicly thank Governor Beshear and his legislative team who worked hard to review the final bill after it was presented to him on Tuesday.  I am equally grateful for the bipartisan efforts of the Kentucky General Assembly, and especially for the work of Senators Morgan McGarvey and Julie Raque Adams and Representative Jason Nemes.  Work on this bill began last year through a cooperative effort involving the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, local defense attorneys, public health officials and Senator McGarvey.  While the legislation did not pass in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the groundwork was laid for this year’s successful work.

The passage of this important bill is an excellent example of what good can be achieved when we all work together for the benefit of the Commonwealth.

Media Release Statement

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OFFICE OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
30th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
THOMAS B. WINE, COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY

Media Release: March 11, 2021

Attention: Assignment Editor
Director of Communications: Jeff Cooke
Office: (502) 595-2300 Ext. 3027
Cell / Text: (502) 262-5809
E-mail: jcooke@louisvilleprosecutor.com

In early May 2020 many local advocacy groups, including the local chapter of the NAACP, Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice and the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition, and many local civil rights leaders and public officials called for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Breonna Taylor.  They also called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to review that investigation.  At that same time, then United States Senator Kamala Harris joined a group of Louisville ministers in demanding that federal investigators examine the shooting, writing in a tweet that Taylor’s “family deserves answers.”

On May 13, 2020 I recognized there would be a conflict for the Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney to investigate and prosecute Kenneth Walker, who was accused of shooting Sgt. Jon Mattingly, and, at the same time, investigate and prosecute the LMPD officers who were accused of shooting Breonna Taylor.  I recused our office and asked the Attorney General’s Office to appoint a special prosecutor. When a local prosecutor is disqualified from handling a case, the Attorney General can either appoint another state prosecutor to handle the case or direct his Special Prosecution Unit to handle it.  In this instance, recognizing the amount of resources necessary to review and prosecute the matter, the Attorney General directed his Special Prosecution Unit to assume responsibility for the case. 

On or about May 20, 2020, Mayor Greg Fischer announced the findings of an internal investigation into the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metro Police Department had been turned over to Attorney General Daniel Cameron and his Special Prosecution Unit.

On May 21, the Louisville field office for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced it was launching its own independent investigation into Taylor’s death. The FBI’s Civil Rights Division, based in Washington D.C., announced that it is working with the Louisville field office on the case.  Just this week, on March 9, representatives of the Louisville field office stated there is no timeline on the investigation’s completion and that they are continuing to “actively investigate all aspects” of Breonna Taylor’s death.

On May 22, 2020, our office moved to dismiss the indictment against Kenneth Walker which had been brought as a result of his alleged shooting of Sgt. Mattingly. At that time I said in part;

"I believe that additional investigation is necessary, I believe that the independent investigation by the Attorney General's Office of Kentucky, the FBI, and the US Attorney's Office must be completed before we go forward with any prosecution… If, after those reviews, we believe there is sufficient evidence to again present this matter to the grand jury, we will do so.

In September 2020, after more than two months of investigation into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Unit presented the matter to a Jefferson County Grand Jury. On September 23, 2020, LMPD Officer Brent Hankison was indicted on the charges of Wanton Endangerment in the First Degree. No indictment was returned against any officer for causing the death of Ms. Taylor. On September 29, 2020 Attorney General Cameron explained in a written statement:

"The evidence supported, and our team recommended, wanton endangerment charges against Mr. Hankison. Sergeant Mattingly and Detective Cosgrove were justified in returning fire after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker. However, the Grand Jury was presented with all of the evidence over the course of the two-and-a-half-day presentation, including information involving Sergeant Mattingly and Detective Cosgrove. If our office just presented the wanton endangerment charge against Hankison, it would have been a much shorter presentation, but we felt it was important for the Grand Jury to hear all the information before they deliberated and voted."

In late October 2020, responding to complaints that his prosecutors did not  give the Breonna Taylor grand jury the option of considering murder charges against the LMPD officers, Attorney General Cameron, speaking with ABC affiliate WBKO in Bowling Green, Kentucky, explained;

"It was not our judgment that there should be other charges that the grand jury should be advised of…..The grand jury can, you know, as an independent body, bring up other questions or other issues….I fully take responsibility for the recommendation that we made

He concluded, stating: “Based on the facts, that was the appropriate recommendation to make.”

Last week, after concluding that no new information regarding Kenneth Walker had been developed since May 2020, our office moved to dismiss the charges against Kenneth Walker “with prejudice”.  On March 8, 2021, Judge Olu Stevens granted that motion.

Just as I exercised my discretion not to re-indict Kenneth Walker, a decision that has been widely criticized, so too, the Attorney General exercised his discretion in the presentation to the Breonna Taylor grand jury. Both the National District Attorneys Association National Prosecution Standards and the Kentucky Rules of Criminal Procedure mandate that a prosecutor serve as a legal advisor to the grand jury.   Charging recommendations are part of that advisory role.

The investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor is not over.  It continues in the hands of both independent investigators and prosecutors, those of the FBI and the United States Department of Justice.  Violations of federal civil rights under color of law, resulting in the death of an individual, carry the same, if not greater, penalties than those provided under Kentucky law.

The Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney does not plan to present this matter to another grand jury as long as there is a pending federal investigation. To do so would create a risk of inconsistent results and recommendations and potentially hinder rather than advance justice in this case.

Media Release: LMPD Detective Indicted for Perjury

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OFFICE OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
30th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
THOMAS B. WINE, COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY

Media Release: January 21, 2021

Attention: Assignment Editor
Director of Communications: Jeff Cooke
Office: (502) 595-2300 Ext. 3027
Cell / Text: (502) 262-5809
E-mail: jcooke@louisvilleprosecutor.com

Today the Jefferson County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Louisville Metro Police Department Detective John David Green charging him with two counts of Perjury in the First Degree as a result of his having knowingly given material false testimony in a probable cause hearing in Jefferson District Court in October 2018 and in a presentation to a Jefferson County grand jury in November 2018.   In August 2018 Green had been assigned to investigate an employee theft at a local McDonald’s restaurant and ended up charging a McDonald’s employee for the theft.   In giving testimony against that employee Green stated that he had watched hours of store surveillance video which showed that the person charged was responsible for the theft.  Once the case had been indicted and the surveillance video reviewed by the defense, it was obvious that a different employee had committed the theft.  While Green believed he had charged the correct person, it is alleged that Green charged the employee without actually having watched the store surveillance video as he had testified and had he actually watched the video he would have known that he had charged the wrong person. 

 Green faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

The case has been assigned to Division One of Jefferson Circuit Court and Green is expected to be formally arraigned there on Monday, January 25, 2021 at 8:30 a.m.  Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Drabenstadt are the prosecutors.

Media Release: Criminal Trials Continue Despite COVID Pandemic

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OFFICE OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
30th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
THOMAS B. WINE, COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY

Media Release: October 29, 2020

Attention: Assignment Editor
Director of Communications: Jeff Cooke
Office: (502) 595-2300 Ext. 3027
Cell / Text: (502) 262-5809
E-mail: jcooke@louisvilleprosecutor.com

After a three day trial, a jury in Division Eight of Jefferson Circuit Court has convicted Antoine Offutt for the September 11, 2017 robbery of the Thornton’s Gas Station located on 1501 Dixie Highway.  The testimony presented at trial told how Offutt entered the gas station, and immediately ran behind the checkout counter and ordered the clerks to “Give me everything you got”. All three victims/employees, who were all standing behind the counter, hesitated due to fear.  After two of them got past him, the defendant became more agitated and pulled out a knife, grabbed Victim 1 by the arm, put his knife up to her stomach, and stated, “OPEN IT UP BEFORE I KILL YOU!!” Victim 1 opened the register and the defendant removed business cash from inside the register till. After obtaining business cash, the defendant fled on foot.   A patron followed the defendant to the 2100 block of West Hill Street, where he subsequently flagged down a responding officer. Offutt was identified and immediately taken into custody. At time of arrest, Offutt threw down two knives- one of which was used in the robbery; all in an attempt to conceal evidence of the crime. Offutt had the stolen business cash on his possession, and was wearing the same clothing as observed in the businesses’ surveillance video, at time of arrest.

The jury found Offutt guilty but mentally ill to the offences of Robbery in the First Degree (1 count) Robbery in the Second Degree (2 counts), Tampering with Physical Evidence and being a Persistent Felony Offender in the First Degree.  Today the jury recommended a sentence of twenty years.

Final sentencing is set for December 16, 2020.

Following the trial Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Elizabeth Jones Brown commended the jurors for serving the community and assuring that victims receive justice despite the health concerns presented by the COVID pandemic.  She also complimented Judge McKay Chauvin for insuring that the trial was conducted in such a manner that all participants were kept safe and treated fairly. 

Joining Ms. Jones Brown as prosecutor was Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lashae Richie.