Three of the four suspects involved in the Walmart carjacking and shooting of Officer Jeremy Davidson appeared in court Wednesday morning before Judge John Atkins.
Anthony Johnson, 19, September Neblett, 24, and Autumn Neblett, 25, appeared for their first pretrial conference of their cases.
Keith Kuzyk, 28, was the fourth in the group and the one allegedly responsible for shooting Davidson in the arm and head. However, he was not on the docket Wednesday. Kuzyk faces a slew of charges in Christian County and Montgomery County, TN, where he was apprehended.
After a short discussion between Commonwealth's Attorney Rick Boling and Atkins, Atkins decided to continue the case until July 17, giving the commonwealth and defense council another month to sift through evidence and consider pleas.
Boling suggested scheduling another pretrial conference a month later would allow him more time to consider what evidence is pertinent to the Christian County case compared to the federal case in Montgomery County, where Kuzyk is still being held.
"I need more time to sort out what's applicable to this case and not applicable to the federal case," Boling said. "It's somewhat difficult. I'm trying to keep council from having about 80 copies of CDs and DVDs that they really don't necessarily need to waste their time looking through."
Boling continued to explain that the case is complicated and needs about a month to sort out that evidence for the defense.
Atkins agreed and continued the Neblett's and Johnson's cases until July.
According to New Era archives, the group of four arrived at Walmart on Clinic Drive and saw a white Chevrolet Tahoe that was occupied by four passengers. Kuzyk allegedly stole the vehicle from the driver by gunpoint. 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 Neblett drove away from the store in the Dodge 4X4 that the group arrived in.
Sometime later, the four met again. Kuzyk got in the Dodge with Autumn, and September got in the stolen Tahoe with Johnson.
At that time, officer Davidson spotted the Dodge and began attempting to make a traffic stop, but the Dodge fled and a pursuit began.
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During the pursuit, a Christian County Sheriff's deputy deployed spike strips on North Drive. Kuzyk fired a rifle multiple times at Davidson, striking him twice. One shot hit him in the head while the other struck his arm, according to police reports.
Later that morning, Autumn was found hiding in a dugout on the property of University Heights Academy, holding the rifle that was reportedly used to shoot Davidson.
Even later that morning, another vehicle was reported stolen from the Waffle House on Fort Campbell Boulevard in Hopkinsville.
Shortly after, officers located and apprehended Kuzyk after another pursuit went into Montgomery County.
Kuzyk's charges out of Christian County are first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, first-degree fleeing or evading police, receiving stolen property under $10,000, theft by unlawful taking of an auto over $10,000 and two counts of attempted murder of a police officer.
In other court news:
- A man accused of three counts of second-degree rape, one count of second-degree sodomy and one count of first-degree sexual abuse entered a guilty plea Wednesday morning. Norman W. Baker entered a guilty plea to an offer that dismissed his charges of second-degree rape and amended his somody and sexual abuse charges down to two counts of second-degree unlawful transaction with a minor. However, Baker is required to a complete outpatient sex offender treatment program. The offer recommends those two charges to run concurrent with each other for a period of three years, but consecutive to any prior felony convictions. The commonwealth is also neutral on probation. After entering his guilty plea, Atkins scheduled Baker for a final sentencings hearing to be held on Aug. 7.
- Another man accused of rape and sodomy also entered a plea before Judge Atkins Wednesday morning. Markeese Ogborn, who was charged with one charge of first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy as well as one count of attempted first-degree sodomy, entered an Alford plea in an offer that amended his rape and sodomy charges to two counts of sexual misconduct and dismissed the attempted sodomy charge. The commonwealth was neutral on probation as part of his plea as well. Court documents added that the victim approved the plea. Atkins ultimately decided to probate Ogburn for a period of one year.
- Amber Hines, the co-defendant in a case where Kevin Hines is charged with one count of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy, one count of incest and one count of first-degree sexual abuse, was granted a diversion Wednesday morning. Ms. Hines was charged with complicity to incest in Mr. Hines case but was granted a supervised pretrial diversion for a period of five years. Should Ms. Hines fail to comply with her diversion, she will be required to serve out four years in prison for her charge. Mr. Hines, however, has not yet entered a plea and is scheduled to appear in court again on June 19.
Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra.