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UPDATE: Accused murderer pleads not guilty

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email
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UPDATE 4/5/13

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - He is accused of murdering his parents, but he says he did not do it.

Willie Blanton was in a Johnson County courtroom Friday to answer to the murder charges.

A grand jury indicted him last month after his parents, Larry and Sandara Blanton, were found buried on their farm, but Blanton is maintaining his innocence.

Friday Willie Blanton answered to those charges pleading not guilty.

Blanton is also facing other charges not directly related to the murders, and the judge ruled to combine all of them.

"The judge granted the commonwealth motion to join all of his pending cases together. What that means is that the trials that were set for Monday will be continued," said Public Defender Steve Goble.

Attorneys say because the case has received so much media attention it will be moved from Johnson County to Lawrence County.

"The judge had already ruled that the other cases need to be moved due to pretrial publicity, and the difficulty would be to get a fair jury in Johnson County," said Goble.

Several of the Blantons' family members were in the courtroom. None wanted to speak on camera, but they did tell Mountain News they just want a fair trial and justice for Larry and Sandara.

Blanton is currently in the Boyd County Detention Center.


UPDATE 5:47 p.m.

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - It is an investigation that lasted nearly six months, starting as a missing persons case and eventually turning into a murder investigation.

Larry and Sandara Blanton disappeared last September, and officials found their bodies buried on their farm last month.

Now their son, Willie Blanton, is now charged with killing both of them.

Johnson County officials say the past six months were full of questions with few answers until recently.

"We've worked on this case a lot. We've had every lead, every information, anything that came through the door pertaining to this case we've worked on it trying to figure out where those bodies were," said Johnson County Chief Deputy Kevin Pelphrey.

When the couple disappeared officials held out hope they would find them safe, but as the months went on the hope faded and concerns rose about their son, Willie.

"From the beginning of this investigation he was deceitful with us and he's been a person of interest since day one," said Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price.

Police found the Blantons' bodies in February buried behind their barn. They say the discovery gave them all the evidence needed to prosecute Willie Blanton, and on Wednesday a grand jury indicted him.

Officials say they are pleased with the indictment, but they say without the plea agreement taken by Willie Blanton's girlfriend, Amanda Fannin, they may never have found the bodies and the charges may never have come.

"I personally don't believe after seeing the investigation from start to finish that she actually had anything to do with the murders. We're glad it's over. We've put together a good case, and we're ready for trial or whatever comes our way next," said Sheriff Price.

In the plea agreement Fannin divulged information leading to the bodies in exchange for immunity from charges in the case. The plea also states Willie Blanton cannot face the death penalty.

Willie Blanton is charged for two counts of murder, two counts of tampering with physical evidence, and one count of persistent felony offender.

He is being held in the Boyd County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash bond.

He is set to be arraigned April 5.


PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT/WKYT) - An Eastern Kentucky man has been indicted on murder charges.

Willie Blanton, the son of the deceased Sandara and Larry Blanton, has now been charged with their murder.

The Johnson County coroner says the couple died of blunt force trauma. They were found on their property after months of searching.

Willie Blanton's girlfriend, Amanda Fannin, made a plea deal which gave investigators information how the couple died and where their bodies were buried.

The deal prevents Willie Blanton from being given the death penalty in the case.

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