The man accused of a Walmart carjacking and shooting of Hopkinsville Police Department officer Jeremy Davidson in February 2019, had his jury trial that was set to begin Monday morning rescheduled for later this week in Judge John Atkins’ court.
Keith Kuzyk, 30, Clarksville, appeared in court Monday for what was scheduled to be the beginning of his trial, however, due to the defense receiving last minute evidence, his trial was rescheduled to begin Thursday morning.
Atkins told the New Era that Kuzyk’s defense attorney Rick Sanborn explained to the court that Sanborn made a motion to move the trial due to the late arrival of evidence provided by the commonwealth.
“The defense had made a motion for postponement due to the belated arrival of a voluminous amount of medical information,” Atkins said.
Atkins continued to share that the defense explained that the delay was not the fault of the commonwealth, but instead, was an untimely mistake.
“The defense conceded that the commonwealth was not to blame for the delay,” Atkins said.
“The commonwealth did not receive the information until late Thursday and provided it immediately to the defense on Friday, but in a format that the defense was not able to manipulate and review the documents until (Monday).”
Atkins ultimately chose to grant the motion to postpone the trial “out of an abundance of caution and in a sense of fairness.”
Atkins rescheduled the trial for Thursday and Friday, beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Atkins added that while the jury panel was present to begin the trial, the jury was informed of the court’s decision and was excused until Thursday, on which day the jury for the trial will be selected.
According to New Era archives, Kuzyk was sentenced to 18 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release by United States Senior District Court Judge Thomas B. Russell on Dec. 18, 2020 for federal charges related to his case locally.
Kuzyk pleaded guilty to carjacking, use and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, archives added. Kuzyk’s charge of shooting an officer is being adjudicated in state court.
As Kuzyk’s charges are federal, there is no parole for his crime.
Locally, Kuzyk is currently charged with first-degree assault of a police officer, attempted murder, first-degree fleeing or evading police (motor vehicle), receiving stolen property under $10,000, theft by unlawful taking of an auto over $10,000 and first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer.
According to archives, Ofc. Davidson was shot in the head and arm around 1:30 a.m. Feb. 18, 2019, while in pursuit of a robbery suspect. A woman reported to police that she was robbed by a masked man at Walmart on Clinic Drive. The suspect also stole her car.
A warrant was later issued for Kuzyk, along with three other suspects. According to a U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Kentucky press release, Kuzyk was the perpetrator of the robbery and of shooting Davidson.
Archives continue to state that on Feb. 18, 2019, the group of four, Kuzyk, Autumn Neblett, September Neblett and Anthony Johnson, took part in robbing a woman of her car, later leading to a car chase where Kuzyk shot officer Davidson twice.
The four of them arrived at Walmart on Clinic Drive and saw a white Chevrolet Tahoe occupied by Ethan Sisk and three passengers.
Kuzyk approached the vehicle and ordered Sisk, who was the driver, to get out of the vehicle at gunpoint. Sisk refused to get out before Kuzyk struck him in the face with his gun. Sisk then got out of the vehicle, and Kuzyk ordered the other three passengers to get out as well.
During that time, Kuzyk allegedly fired a handgun into the air and got into the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Johnson, who was also armed, entered the passenger’s seat of the vehicle, and the two drove away in the stolen Tahoe.
Autumn and September drove away from the Walmart in a Dodge 4X4 that the four of them arrived in.
Roughly an hour later, the four met again. While there, Kuzyk got in the Dodge with Autumn as September got in the stolen Tahoe with Johnson.
At that time, Davidson spotted the Dodge and began attempting to make a traffic stop, but the Dodge fled and a pursuit began.
During the pursuit, a Christian County Sheriff’s deputy deployed spike strips on North Drive. Kuzyk saw the spike strips, attempted to swerve and almost hit the deputy.
As the pursuit continued, Kuzyk fired a rifle multiple times at Davidson, striking him twice. One shot hit him in the head while the other struck his arm.
Kuzyk continued to flee before abandoning the vehicle at a home on Sanderson Drive. However, Kuzyk and Autumn took the guns with them.
During that pursuit, Ofc. Jamal Howard spotted the stolen Tahoe and attempted to make a traffic stop before it fled, beginning another pursuit. The Tahoe eventually fled into Tennessee where officers lost sight of it.
Later that morning, Autumn was found hiding in a dugout on the property of University Heights Academy, holding the rifle that was used to shoot Davidson.
At around 8:30 a.m. Monday, another vehicle was reported stolen from the Waffle House on Fort Campbell Boulevard in Hopkinsville.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office assisted Hopkinsville Police Department and the Christian County Sheriff’s Office to locate and apprehend Kuzyk.
At approximately 8:54 a.m., Christian County and Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies spotted Kuzyk driving a vehicle near Zinc Plant Road in Clarksville. Deputies attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but he failed to stop and led deputies on another pursuit through several roads
When the vehicle turned on Highway 48/13 to head back into town, Sgt. James Derico with the MCSO deployed spike strips to slow the vehicle, and a Christian County sheriff’s deputy brought the vehicle to a stop.
Davidson was later discharged and recovered from his injuries.