Following the reversal of the verdict against Karen Brafman, 35, who is accused of setting fire to a mobile home with several people inside, Brafman appeared in Christian Circuit Judge John Atkins’ court Wednesday morning with her new defense attorneys.
Brafman appeared via Zoom while at the Christian County Jail along with her defense attorneys Eric Bearden and Doug Moore.
Moore shared with the court that he had recently entered an appearance to represent Brafman alongside Bearden and explained that he intends to file several motions to the court.
Moore explained that he had already submitted a bond review motion in the case, but is almost finished with submitting a second motion.
“I have another motion that is 3/4s done and I was going to suggest a hearing date to take up both motions — I’ll have it filed by Friday,” Moore said to the court. “I’m going to argue bond and the other motion at the same time.”
Atkins agreed with the request and tentatively scheduled a motion hearing for April 29.
Following Moore’s request, Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Boling inquired what the second motion is that Moore will be submitting.
“I don’t have a title for it — right now, I’ve just got motion to dismiss, but I’m not sure if that’s what it’s ultimately going to be called,” Moore said.
Both Atkins and Boling shared concerns that the commonwealth would not have enough time to respond to the dismissal motion if the hearing was scheduled just one week out.
With that in mind, Atkins stated that the court would at least hear the bond motion on April 29 and on that date the court will likely schedule a second hearing for the dismissal motion.
Brafman was found guilty in April 2019 of intentionally setting fire to a mobile home on May 12, 2018, in Cerulean with six people inside. She filed an appeal in February 2020 with the Kentucky Supreme Court, alleging that the commonwealth denied her a fair trial.
On Dec. 17, 2020, the Supreme Court’s ruling was released and detailed the court’s reasons behind the reversal.
The Supreme Court found that Boling intentionally mislead the jury and in doing so denied Brafman a fair defense that she was entitled to after he denied Brafman’s defense of voluntary intoxication knowing that she had been intoxicated at the time of the crime.
“What was done here went beyond arguing and construing facts to misleading the jury from the truth on a highly material issue,” Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. wrote. “The conduct went beyond mere advocacy and prosecutorial zeal. It was unnecessarily exploitative and dishonest.”
Brafman may once again be tried for her charges following the reversal of her verdict.
She is charged with first-degree arson, second-degree arson and six counts of attempted murder.
In other court news, one of the last suspects involved in a robbery at Burke’s Outlet parking lot, Jacorie Summers, 22, entered a guilty plea and received his final sentence Wednesday afternoon before Christian Circuit Judge Andrew Self.
Summers was previously charged with only first-degree robbery, but entered a guilty plea to the amended charge of theft by unlawful taking over $500 but under $10,000. Along with the plea deal he entered, the commonwealth recommended that he be granted a pretrial diversion for a period of one year.
A diversion means that as long as the defendant follows all of the rules of the diversion and does not commit any further crimes, the charges would be dropped and expunged from the defendant’s records.
Following Summers officially entering the plea deal Wednesday afternoon, Summers’ defense attorney Allison Mohon waived a separate final sentencing hearing and made an argument of why Summers should be granted a diversion.
Mohon stated that Summers had been with the wrong people at the wrong time and made a mistake.
“He’s got a very bright future, he’s never been in trouble and I think he is remorseful for what he’s done and he’s got a strong family support and a good job,” Mohon said of Summers.
“He’s got more opportunities lined up and I know he would really appreciate this chance to gave this diversion so that he can move forward with his life without any of the more serious consequences that he could’ve had.”
Christian County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Bolen, who was prosecuting the case, agreed with Mohon’s argument and asked that Self follow the plea deal.
“He’s a good candidate for pretrial diversion and we hope that he takes advantage of the opportunity,” Bolen said.
Self then honored the plea deal and granted Summers a diversion for a period of one year.