The Richmond Register

February 9, 2013

Man gets second indictment in nonprofit’s burglary, fire

By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer

RICHMOND — A man who already was indicted in January on burglary charges was indicted again this week by a Madison grand jury.

Gary C. Davidson, 30, of Louisville, was indicted Wednesday on the charge of second-degree arson related to a 2011 incident that destroyed the New Opportunity School For Women headquarters in Berea.

In addition, Davidson was indicted last week on a charge of receiving stolen property (more than $10,000) in connection with the theft of a Madison County school bus in an incident unrelated to the NOSW burglary and fire.

Davidson was indicted in January on two counts of third-degree burglary. If convicted on all charges, he could serve up to 40 years in prison.

In the school bus incident, Richmond police were called Jan. 13, 2011, to Autumn Leaf Drive to investigate an abandoned Madison County school bus parked in a vacant lot, according to an RPD news release.

The bus had been stolen and wrecked, sustaining about $2,500 in damage, the report stated. The investigation revealed Davidson was a suspect, according to the RPD.

In November 2012, Berea police charged Davidson in connection with a fire that gutted the school’s building.

Davidson originally was charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree arson after a nearly yearlong investigation by the Kentucky State Police.

Davidson admitted to detectives that he broke into the school in the early morning hours of Dec. 12, 2011, according to a news release from the Berea Police Department.

A witness noticed the fire at 2:36 a.m. and called 911. Damage to the building was extensive as it completely destroyed all equipment and furnishings inside.

A security camera on a neighboring building captured video of the suspect, and officers recognized Davidson “from previous dealings with him,” the police news release stated.

The New Opportunity School for Women was created in 1987 to help Appalachian women become better educated and employed. More then 580 women have completed the school’s three-week residential program, and even more women have benefitted from the program’s career and education outreach and counseling, according to the NOSW website.

After the fire, the school relocated to the lower level of the First Christian Church, 204 Chestnut Street. The program rents the space from the church.

Other indictments:

• Elijah K. Rono, first-degree fleeing or evading police, seven counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, receiving stolen property (more than $10,000), operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license, reckless driving and speeding. If convicted, Rono could serve up to 30 years.

• Anthony Harris, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and third-degree possession of a controlled substance.

• Dustin Lynn Prather, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, third-degree possession of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence.

• Brian Bolton, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, second-degree wanton endangerment, resisting arrest and menacing.

• Jennifer Jackson, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and second-degree wanton endangerment.

• Sarah Rittenour, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, two counts of first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and second-degree persistent felony offender.

• Kathie L. Browning, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

• Jonathan E. Decoster, first-degree burglary, fourth-degree assault and violation of a domestic violence order. If convicted on all charges, he could serve up to 20 years in prison.

• William Henry Taylor, first-degree possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

• Edward D. Leppard II, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license and failure to wear a seat belt.

• Daniel Knuckles, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and reckless driving.

An indictment is a formal statement of charges and does not imply guilt.