Police: Drugs, money motive in Knox County murder

KNOX COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It ended in what police call a murder, but they say the suspects initially planned on committing a different kind of crime at the home of Donald Mills in rural Knox County.

"Ms. Smith and Baker had made the comment, let's go ahead and rob him here, since he had had admitted to having a certain quantity of medication as well as money," said Det. Brian Johnson of Kentucky State Police, who testified during the Tuesday preliminary hearing of four of the five suspects in Mills' murder. Stephanie Smith was the last one arrested and was yet to be arraigned at the time of the hearing to see if probable cause was found to send the case to a grand jury

Police testified that the group planned the robbery three days before Mills was killed. And during the early morning hours of May 9th, police say Patrick Baker and Christopher Wagner broke down Mills' front door and pretended to be cops.

"During this time it's believed that one of the subjects made the comment, 'where the's drugs, where's the money?'" Johnson said during testimony in the Knox District Courtroom.

Police say Mills mother, who along with his wife took him to the hospital after the shootings, said he didn't know who the intruders were.

"She stated that, her son Donald, had the guy in a headlock, and had him on the ground, and that's when the guy pulled a gun and shot him the chest," Det. Johnson said.

Police said no drugs and money were taken from the Mills home and $2500 in cash was still found in Mills wallet.

Yet police say because of witness statements describing Mills with a large quantity of drugs and money, the case has caught the attention of federal agents, who may take over the case.

"Just the information we have obtained in our investigation, indviduals have admitted his involvement in drug trafficking," said Johnson.

The ATF is already investigating the crime and Johnson said other federal agencies are interested in the case. They describe Mills role as running a "small business" from his Scalf home.

Police say Baker and Wagner were in the home when Mills was killed while Angela Mills Brown and Elijah Messer waited outside.

Cases against all four where held to the grand jury. The 5th suspect, Stephanie Smith, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon.

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