The Richmond Register

March 2, 2012

4 plead not guilty to Berea murder


Register staff report

BEREA — Four people charged in the November shooting death of a Berea man and assault of his roommate were arraigned Thursday in Madison Circuit Court.

Matthew Denholm, 27, Ryan Denholm, 30, Sherry Lynn Bratten, 31, and Randall J. Burgess, 18, pleaded not guilty before Judge William G. Clouse.

The Denholm brothers face a murder charge, along with criminal attempt to commit murder and first-degree burglary, both Class C felonies punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. If convicted, they could be sentenced to life in prison.

Matthew Denholm is accused of entering the apartment of Zackary Dustin Flower and Kevin Price on Nov. 21 and shooting the roommates, killing Flower.

Matthew Denholm had been in a fight the night before with two Hispanic males in the parking lot of the Oliver Building in Berea, across from City Hall, according to district court testimony by Berea Police Detective Daniel Brewer. The fight allegedly had been over a tool that was stolen from Matthew Denholm.

Flower and Price, who lived in an apartment in the Oliver Building, heard a commotion and reportedly went outside to intervene, according to Berea police. A fight allegedly ensued.

Matthew Denholm told the roommates he would be back.

When he returned to the apartment the next morning, Matthew Denholm shot through the victims’ apartment door and then kicked the door open, police said. He allegedly fired two shots at Flower, killing him.

He also fired a shot at Price, who later told police that he saw Matthew Denholm shoot Flower through the wrist and face with a deer rifle.

Matthew Denholm, accompanied by his brother Ryan and Ryan’s girlfriend, Sherry Bratten, then left Madison County and were tracked to Louisville, where they were arrested later that day.

Ryan Denholm is accused of providing his brother with the deer rifle and is charged with murder. Police say he admitted to bringing the rifle to Matthew Denholm.

Bratten and Burgess are charged with two counts of facilitation to murder and one count of facilitation to first-degree burglary, all Class D felonies.

Police say Burgess provided the vehicle for Matthew Denholm to use to go back to the apartment at the Oliver Building the morning of the shooting.

Burgess’ public advocate attorney Teresa Whitaker told Clouse Thursday that she intends to file a motion for a reduction of Burgess’ bond, which currently is set at $100,000.

Matthew Denholm’s bond is $1 million, while his brother and Bratten are being held on $750,000 bonds. All four of the suspects are being held in the Madison County Detention Center.

The next pretrial conference in the cases was set for April 26.