Mistrial Declared In Trial Alleging Abuse Of Wayne County Resident

MONTICELLO, Ky. (AP) - A southeastern Kentucky judge said
Thursday that he stopped a trial against three former Oakwood
workers charged with abusing patients because he believed key
prosecution witnesses were lying on the witness stand.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Vernon Miniard declared a mistrial
Wednesday after two days of testimony in the case against Jennifer
Gregory, Kelvin Elliott and Michael Kemper - former workers at
Oakwood, the state's largest home for mentally retarded adults.

Miniard told The Associated Press on Thursday that he took the
action when other former workers began to give testimony against
their colleagues that conflicted with what they had previously told
an administrative law judge in Frankfort. Miniard said he warned at
least one of the witnesses to get an attorney and expect likely
perjury charges.

"I didn't think it was fair to just allow them to go up there
and perjure themselves," Miniard said.

Allison Martin, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office,
said the state does plan to retry the case against the three
workers. She said she couldn't say more because of a gag order
imposed by the judge.

The workers were charged with knowingly abusing an adult and
intimidating a participant in a legal process. Gregory and Elliott
also were charged with tampering with physical evidence. A fourth
employee, William Jared Crabtree, pleaded guilty earlier to
reckless abuse of an adult and was sentenced to 30 hours of
community service.

An Oakwood personnel board voted in December to give the workers
their jobs back, and they are awaiting reinstatement.

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