Wanted poster for John Buckley and John Lee Williams
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Federal and local authorities have been on the hunt for John Buckley since July when he walked out of the courthouse just moments before a jury convicted him of rape.
When Buckley's uncle, Kelly Buckley, left the courtroom Monday after the judge ordered him to forfeit a $150,000 bond, he didn't want to talk to the media, but he had a lot to say in court records that describe what he considers his attempts to locate his nephew.
In a letter to Sheriff Kathy Witt, Kelly Buckley claims he met with his nephew's former cellmate John Lee Williams. Williams has since confessed to helping John Buckley jump bail. Williams declined our request for an interview, but jail records confirm Kelly Buckley did make a personal visit to Williams on September 1st. In his letter, Kelly Buckley describes a deal he was trying to make with Williams in which Williams would contact John Buckley through another person known only as, "Big Boy."
"Kelly Buckley said that he had been working with Kathy Witt to find this guy, and that he's been cooperating all along," Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said after the hearing on Monday, "We disagreed with that."
Prosecutors say representatives from the sheriff's department and other agencies were prepared to testify on Monday that Kelly Buckley was not cooperating with them. The fugitive's uncle claims he pressured Williams to make a deal in time for the bond hearing in exchange for $5000.
WKYT Crimetracker Officer Don Evans, a former homicide detective, says if what Kelly Buckley describes is true, it could have done more harm than good. "We don't know if investigators had already talked to this person in the jail, and whether or not this created chaos for them," Evans said, "You just don't know. So going to the person in the jail, trying to initiate this stuff on your own is generally going to cause problems for the investigation. Then what happens is investigators often are trying to do cleanup."
What's more, Kelly Buckley sent copies of the letters to the judge specifically for the court file, which makes them open to the public. "It could potentially give the person they're trying to catch, John Buckley, the heads up."
WKYT contacted both the sheriff's office and the U.S. Marshall's office. Both declined to comment on the status of the search for John Buckley.