Jury reaches verdict in murder trial

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

HYDEN, Ky. (WYMT) - The jury has reached a verdict in a Leslie County murder trial.

The jury spent around five hours trying to decide if Harold Pennington killed Norman Adams in 2010.

He is one of five men originally charged with murder in the case.

The jury returned a not guilty verdict. They were given the option of murder, manslaughter I/II, accomplice to murder, reckless homicide and tampering with physical evidence.

Prosecutors argued he and four others allegedly threw his body down a hill to make it look like he was killed in an ATV accident.

His attorney defended his inconsistency in four statements given to police over time. Linda West stated Harold Pennington was threatened by Millard Miniard. She said he was told if he did not corroborate a story he planned to tell police, he would kill Pennington and his elderly parents.

Commonwealth's Attorney Harold Rader said Pennington's statements changed multiple times. West said the biggest changes between the November 2010 statement and May 2011 statement were because of Miniard's threats. Miniard testified in May of 2011 as well.

West said Pennington's speech impediment made him "not like" other people. She told the jury he never had any intention of helping the other men allegedly involved or hurting Adams.

The prosecutors continuously questioned his presence at the crime scene and said a speech impediment did not change his ability to tell right from wrong.

West said she was content with the decision made by the jury.

"I am very happy and so is his family, especially his elderly parents," said West.
"He has been in jail almost two years and now gets to go home."

Norman Adams' family seemed unhappy with the outcome and did not want to comment to WYMT. Rader also declined comment.

Ricky Turner, Lonnie Callahan, Lonnie Ray Callahan, and Millard Miniard were originally set to have their trials in November, but they have been rescheduled. All men will are scheduled for trial on July 9, 2013.

Leslie County Circuit Court Judge Oscar Gayle House said each defendant was now to have a separate trial with a separate jury.
He said each of the juries must be selected from different jury pools, which are selected around once a year.

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