UPDATE: Trial of two Perry County jailers facing manslaughter charges continued

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

HAZARD, Ky (WYMT) - Update 2-26-14

We have new information tonight regarding the case of two deputy jailers facing manslaughter charges.

A special prosecutor was appointed Wednesday afternoon in the case of Damon Hickman and William Howell.

Assistant Attorney General Barbara Maines-Whaley will now serve as the prosecuting attorney.

In Auguest, a grand jury indicted the duo for the death of Larry Trent at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard.

Trent was serving time in jail on a DUI charge.

The state medical examiner says Trent suffered injuries as a result of a "jail beating".

The trial was continued until April 28th.

Update 8-6-13:

Two deputy jailers at the Kentucky River Regional Jail, recently indicted following an investigation into the death of an inmate, are behind bars.

Police tell Mountain News Damon Hickman and William Howell voluntarily surrendered to them Tuesday afternoon at the state police post in Hazard.

Both are facing one count of manslaughter in the death of inmate Larry Trent last month.

They are being held in the Kentucky River Regional Jail.

Original story 8-2-13:

The investigation continues into the death of a Perry County inmate who was found unresponsive last month in his jail cell.

But a report obtained by the Hazard Herald newspaper is giving us new insight into what happened just hours before Larry Trent's death.

The extraordinary occurrence report filed with the Department of Corrections by jail administrator Tim Kilburn details what happened between Larry Trent and staff at the Kentucky River Regional Jail on July 9th.

In an incident report, staff member William Howell wrote "he came out fighting, I tased him, he didn't stop."

The report claims the fight broke out around 7:30 in the morning over "items he was not allowed" to have in his cell.

Trent was pronounced dead just a few hours later at the Hazard A-R-H.

Howell and another staffer, Damon Hickman, have been placed on administrative leave as a result of the altercation.

In an employee warning report, James C. Combs another staff member was described this way.

He "would not help in a fight, stood and watched, then walked off".

Combs was cited for "carelessness" in that report.

The EOC report lists there were "several" witnesses to the incident.

Trent was being held for a DUI charge.

A preliminary report from the state medical examiner's office says Trent's injuries were the result of a "jail beating".

An official cause of death has not been determined.


Two men are charged with manslaughter in relation to a jail beating in Perry County.

Perry County Commonwealth’s Attorney John Hansen confirmed the indictments against William C. Howell and Damon Hickman on Friday.

Hansen says the grand jury will continue to look into the case.

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