Family of Desman LaDuke responds to Grand Jury’s decision not to indict police

It has been more than ten months since a Nicholasville police officer shot and killed Desman LaDuke.
Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 9:59 PM EDT
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JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - It has been more than ten months since a Nicholasville police officer shot and killed Desman LaDuke.

LaDuke’s family says he was experiencing a mental health crisis. In the months since, they have been searching for answers.

Kentucky State Police identified Nicholasville Police Officer Joseph Horton as the man who pulled the trigger back in October 2022.

On Wednesday, a Jessamine County grand jury declined to indict Horton.

LaDuke’s family says it’s a decision they had been preparing for but still found it difficult to accept.


“It’s hard because just when you think you’re handling things and you’re getting better and you’re learning to deal with it more, you get constantly hit with new information you’re not prepared to hear,” said LaDuke’s aunt, Melissa Marks.

Marks got hit by this newest information Thursday, a day before the grand jury’s decision was supposed to come down.

“I actually found out through a different source, before my attorney found out, that they had moved the hearing,” Marks said.

Marks and other community members planned to rally for Desman at the courthouse on Friday as they have before. But that never would happen.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been misinformed throughout this whole process,” Marks said. “I guess they decided they wanted to do it in privacy.”

Police say LaDuke pointed two guns at officers after several hours of negotiations. Two points that the family still contests to this day.

After ten months of calling for transparency and accountability, Marks feels let down again, and the pain of her loss has washed back over her once more.

“It’s turned our lives upside down. Having someone there every day to not having them at all,” Marks said.

Court records show the grand jury convened virtually on Zoom to make this decision.

Detective Sargeant Marcum with KSP testified in the case.

A KSP trooper directed our request for comment to their headquarters in Frankfort, while Nicholasville police have not yet responded to WKYT.