Neighbors in McCreary shocked over woman's role in murder plot

MCCREARY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - She was the kind of person many people in the small close knit community of Pine Knot say they know very well.

“Everybody in this community loved Regina. She came from a wonderful family,” said a woman who lives nearby Regina Stephens.

Regina Stephens ran a hair salon in her home….yet she was found dead there Friday..hours after police say she hired three men to kill Debbie Taylor in her home. Police say all posed as FBI agents and proceeded to rob and assault Taylor before neighbors rushed to help and call police. Timothy Prater was arrested, yet claims he never meant Taylor harm.

“I made the wrong…choices, put my trust in the wrong people and now I’m here,” Prater said Sunday from the Laurel County Detention Center where he’s being held on the charges.

State police say they can’t comment on the motive but those close to Stephens say it has something to do with a love triangle over a relationship Stephens was involved in.

Regina Stephens’ family members say they are just as shocked over the bizarre series of events as nearly everyone in the community. Her brother says he lost a great sister. A memorial service for Regina Stephens has been scheduled for 2pm Wednesday at the Pine Knot Funeral Home.

Police say they have nicknames for the other two men involved and believe they could be in the Somerset area. Prater claims he only wanted to help the victim.

“The guys that I thought could help me had a different intent,” said Prater.

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