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Jailer Haley questions timing of indictment



BY TOM BERRY news@mayfield-messenger.com

Graves County Jailer Randy Haley is questioning the timing of a grand jury hearing that has led to a second-degree assault indictment against him.

On Thursday, a Graves grand jury indicted Haley in connection to an incident that took place at the jail April 4, 2017. Haley told the Messenger on Monday that he is suspicious of the timing - shortly before he is to face off with Republican George Workman for another term in office during the November general election.

However, Haley pointed out that he is confident the allegation against him will be proven false.

"I am confident that this will result in a fair manner and hopefully sooner than later," Haley said. "The timing is very questionable. It happened over a year ago."

Haley then directed all comments to his attorney, Dennis Null of Mayfield.

Null said Monday that Haley is yet to be served the indictment calling him into court to face the charge and has had too little time to comment on details. However, he did point out that the charge stems from an April 2017 incident.

"It is correct that this incident happened over a year ago, which I thought was over at this point, and it was initially investigated, if I am correct, by the federal government," Null said.

Null also noted that he expected to be contacted on Tuesday about officially serving Haley notice by summons.

"That means you are not arrested, but you have been summoned to be in court on a particular day," he said. "Which is not an unusual thing to do in a lot of cases. It is not any special treatment for the jailer. Admittedly, it would be very awkward to arrest him and take him to where he works."

According to Null, a videotape of the incident from which the charges stem also exists.

"There is a video of the entire situation; from beginning to end," Null added. "I'm not sure if that would be released to the news media, but we would have no objections to that."

However, he pointed out that " a lot of inmates" appear in the video and it will be up to the judge in the case to determine how it is used to protect privacy rights.

"One of the things I will be looking into is would it be possible, somehow or another, to not show the actual faces of those inmates and then release it," Null said.

Null said he believed McCracken Circuit Court Judge Tony Kitchens has been appointed to the case, which Kitchen's office confirmed to the Messenger on Monday. Kitchen has set a date for Haley's arraignment in McCracken Circuit Court on June 22.

The second-degree assault allegation stems from an unrelated Kentucky State Police investigation of a fight among three Graves County Jail inmates on the date in question.

According to a news release at the time by KSP Trooper Jody Cash, a spokesman for Post 1, an April 4, 2017, incident led to a misdemeanor assault investigation involving three inmates.

However, while investigating the assault, Cash said state police investigators also learned about an unrelated complaint concerning possible misuse of force against an inmate.

Following an assessment of the incident, Cash said Post 1 officials decided to turn the report over to the FBI as a civil rights complaint.

"We did that after we had received a couple of third-hand accounts that there might have been a complaint about force being used on an inmate there," Cash said in the news release printed in the Messenger on April 14, 2017. "We looked into making sure that was being looked at by the right people. As opposed to a use of force complaint, it would be a civil rights complaint and the federal government would have to investigate that."

Cash also noted in the release that it was not known which inmate made the complaint or details of what reportedly happened.

McCracken Commonwealth's Attorney Dan Boaz, who has been appointed as special prosecutor in the case, reported Haley's indictment last week following presentation to the grand jury.

The charge reportedly alleges questionable use of a Taser against inmate James Stoval on April 4, 2017.

Boaz pointed out Monday that the timing of the grand jury hearing and the resulting indictment was the result of the FBI completing its investigation only recently.

"The agent that is in charge of the investigation has 15 counties that he covers," Boaz said. "Based on his caseload, and the thoroughness of this investigation, this was unfortunately when we could bring it before a grand jury; present it to them and find out what they wanted to do with it."

Boaz said he was aware of the timing, just five months before the general election when Haley would be facing off against Workman for another term in office.

"There is never good timing for a criminal defendant; especially for an elected official," Boaz said. "But we can't stop the investigation process to allow for other things to go on and we sure can't speed it up to try to accommodate somebody because we want to make sure it is a fair investigation."

Boaz said the investigating FBI agent presented the results to him. Efforts were then made to appoint a special prosecutor and a judge. Graves Commonwealth's Attorney David Hargrove and Graves Circuit Judge Tim Stark have recused themselves from the case to avoid any appearance of partiality, and Kitchen was chosen to take Stark's place.

"Then we got on the grand jury as soon as we could get on the grand jury," Boaz said.