Affidavit: Relative of Whitley Co. murder victims dated man charged in case, dealt drugs

Anthony Hester (Left), Darnell Chivers (Top), Jeremy Hatfield (Bottom)
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WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Court documents offer new details in a triple homicide in Whitley County.

Emogene Bittner, Christopher Bittner, and Emogene’s 16-year-old son Robert ‘Little Man’ Kennedy were all found dead at a home on Deep Branch Road Sept. 13, 2017.

Police say all three were strangled.

Emogene’s mother, Kathy Faulkner, found them and called 911.

More than a year later, Anthony Hester, Darnell Chivers, and Jeremy Hatfield were each charged with murder, first-degree burglary, and tampering with physical evidence.

WKYT has learned new details in the case. According to an affidavit filed Jan. 25, Faulkner had been in a relationship with Chivers in 2017.

Faulkner told investigators she had met him while he was in jail in Indiana, according to the document. She also told Williamsburg police that Chivers took heroin from her home and her truck.

A cooperating defendant told the special agent that all three men forced their way into the home to find Faulkner’s safe, which was expected to contain cash and/or drugs. That defendant said Chivers was upset because he felt Faulkner owed him heroin.

According to the affidavit, that defendant said they did not expect anyone to be home, but Faulkner’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandson were in the home.

The defendant told the agent that those three were strangled using plastic zip ties. After the killings, the men poured bleach throughout the home and on the bodies in an attempt to get rid of any DNA evidence.

Chivers told investigators he had nothing to do with the murders. He said Faulkner owed her supplier for $8,400 for drugs that had already been given to her. According to the affidavit, Chivers said he planned to rob the supplier and give Faulkner $8,400 in cash.

Chivers said the supplier had “bricks” of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine, according to the affidavit.

Faulkner told Williamsburg police that she and Chivers had a dispute in early August of 2017 about a Cadillac Escalade truck.

All three suspects in the case are from Indiana. Jeremy Hatfield was found on a weapons charge and extradited in December. Darnell Chivers was already in jail on unrelated charges in Ohio. In January, federal agents and an Indianapolis SWAT team converged on Anthony Hester.

The affidavit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Anthony Hester (Left), Darnell Chivers (Top), Jeremy Hatfield (Bottom)

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