The Richmond Register

Local News

January 1, 2013

The Register’s top 10 stories of 2012, Part 2

Murders, elections rank high on list


The new year begins today, but several events featured in our list of top 10 stories of 2012 will continue to affect the community through 2013 and beyond.

Readers of the Richmond Register were asked earlier this month to complete an online survey to select the top 10 local stories of the year from a list of 15 choices. During the 11 days of voting, 82 people voiced their opinions about what has affected them, and their community, the most during the past year.

Today’s edition features the top five choices (with two ties). Monday’s edition had the stories that placed six through 10.

1. Bodies of Sonsaray Warford and Charles Walker found after they were reported missing nearly two years earlier

The couple’s bodies were found in shallow graves off Tates Creek Road this spring, and police believe two men --Daniel Keene and Matthew Denholm -- were hired by a local drug dealer to kill Walker.

The “hit” was put out because the dealer, Jakolbe Chenault, believed Walker had stolen money from him several years before, according to police testimony. Warford was Walker’s girlfriend and was with him the day they were kidnapped from the Keystone Drive home they shared.

Their families reported them missing in June 2010. Through their investigation of a cocaine drug ring, police were able to get information about what happened to the couple, which resulted in the arrest of Keene. Keene reportedly confessed to the killings.

Another man, LeBruce Ellington, has been indicted on complicity charges in the case.  Denholm was already in jail facing a murder charge in the shooting death of a Berea man in November 2011.

Keene and Denholm are set for an Aug. 12 jury trial, and the commonwealth’s attorney has the option of pursuing the death penalty.

A music and entertainment benefit this spring is being planned to help the children of Warford and Walker, according to David Dilligaf of Dilligaf Entertainment.

2. Chenault cocaine-trafficking drug-ring members enter guilty pleas in federal court

Jakolbe “Kolbe Cheese” Chenault, along with seven others and his supplier, pleaded guilty to charges related to drug trafficking in Madison County. Their sentences ranged from 12 months to 30 years.

While Chenault was serving a short sentence on a wanton endangerment charge in late 2011, his girlfriend and others continued to deal cocaine. Police raided her Louisville home, discovering 3.5 kilograms of cocaine and more than $98,000 in cash and firearms, according to a federal complaint.

In his October plea agreement, Chenault admitted to dealing large quantities of cocaine, and the money was laundered through Chenault’s Richmond clothing store, JaRu’s New Fashions, and through payments on a Richmond home.

Police court testimony and a search-warrant affidavit also have accused Chenault of hiring the two men who killed Charles Walker and Sonsaray Warford although he has yet to be charged in their deaths.

3. (tie) Construction begins on student apartment complex across from EKU on Lancaster Avenue

Despite opposition from property owners in the Barnes Mill Road neighborhood, the Richmond City Commission approved the rezoning of 15 acres across from Eastern Kentucky University as multifamily.

Grand Campus Properties LLC of Lexington paid $2.4 million for the land to build an apartment complex that would house 512 people. A century-old fire-damaged home was demolished to make way for the new construction.

One of the 64-unit buildings will be ready for occupancy when students return in August 2013, according to Ed Worley, who is developing the property with Brent Rice.

In addition to its two residential buildings, the complex will include a club house, swimming pool and a pedestrian bridge across Lancaster Avenue.

3. (tie) Parents of 7-month-old Serenity Dawes plead guilty to manslaughter, murder in baby’s death

William and Diana Dawes pleaded guilty to killing their infant daughter, Serenity Dawes.

Serenity was rushed to the hospital June 29, 2011, when she stopped breathing while at her Richmond home with her father, according to the Kentucky State Police. She was placed on life support at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, but there were no signs of brain activity.

Serenity died the next day.

The baby’s autopsy showed she had multiple injuries, including a broken leg, two broken ribs, a grab or ligature bruise are her arm, bruising on her body and her brain in parts was "liquefied,” according to an assistant commonwealth’s attorney.

William pleaded guilty to murder and received a sentence of 35 years in prison. Diana pleaded guilty to manslaughter, receiving a sentence of 25 years in prison. Prosecutors believe William inflicted the severe injuries on the baby while Diana failed to notify authorities or get medical help for her child.

4. (tie) Waco woman killed, house set on fire

The body of Ana Marshall, 86, was found inside her burning College Hill Road home during the early morning of March 25. Much of the house was engulfed by the blaze when firefighters reached the scene.

An autopsy revealed she died of blunt force trauma, and the fire was suspected to be arson. No arrests have been made as Kentucky State Police continue to investigate the homicide.

Police ask that anyone with information about case call the KSP at 623-2404 or toll free at 1-800-222-5555.

4. (tie) William Tribble charged with killing great-grandmother in three-year old case

More than three years after JoAnn “Margie” Tribble was found dying from a head wound in the garage of her Teakwood Drive home, her great-grandson William Cody Tribble was charged Sept. 19 with her murder.

In an interview with police investigators, Tribble admitted to assaulting the 78-year-old woman with a hammer at her home on July 20, 2008, according to the arrest citation.

Tribble is alleged to have committed the crime when he was 17, so he initially was arrested as a juvenile. After a closed hearing, the case was transferred to Madison Circuit Court and Tribble will be tried as an adult.

Tribble is next scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 14.

5. Election year leads to changes in local and state government

The nation’s president may not have changed in the November election, but several local governmental bodies will be seeing new faces in 2013.

In May, Darlene Snyder defeated Jennifer Webb and Brandy Winkler to become Madison circuit court clerk. There were no Republicans or independents in the race.

Two new people will be joining the Richmond City Commission, Laura King (formerly Laura Durham Morgan) and former firefighter Jim Newby. They replace outgoing members Jason Morgan and Richard Thomas, who were not re-elected.

In Berea, former member Chester Powell and newcomer Chad Hembree will be joining the eight-person city council.

Only one of the four Madison County School Board members up for re-election was replaced, with Mary Renfro defeating Christopher L. Hager.

While Rita Smart and Donna Mayfield retained their spots representing Madison County in Frankfort, Jonathan Shell will be a newcomer in the state house next year.

Finally, Republican Andy Barr unseated Ben Chandler to represent Kentucky’s Sixth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Text Only
Local News
  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 PackTrack1a.jpg Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’

    Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.

    April 18, 2014 14 Photos

  • 4-18 George WilliamsWEB.jpg Suicide attempt fatal for inmate

    A Todd County man died Tuesday at a Lexington hospital following a suicide attempt at the Madison County Detention Center, according to Madison and Fayette county officials.
    George Kenneth Williams, 50, of Allensville, was transported Monday afternoon by Madison County EMS to Baptist Health Richmond, according to EMS Director Jimmy Cornelison. He was then transferred to Baptist Health in Lexington where he died Tuesday, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCDW instructor indicted on charges of failing to provide training

    A Madison County grand jury has indicted a carry-concealed weapons permit instructor on charges he falsely claimed to have provided instruction to one person for a CCDW permit and provided incomplete training to three others.
    Christopher D. Fins was indicted April 9 on one count of CCDW instructor not providing firearms training and three counts of providing incomplete firearms training.
    Fins faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all four felony charges.

    April 17, 2014

  • EKU dorm sprinklers may have been activated maliciously

    Fire-suppression sprinklers went off about 2:30 a.m. Thursday in Eastern Kentucky University’s Martin Hall dormitory, prompting its evacuation.
    Fluctuating pressure then caused a campus water main to break, according to EKU spokesperson Mark Whitt.
    The cause is uncertain, but university officials are investigating to determine if the sprinklers were activated maliciously, Whitt said.
    The residence hall houses 260 students who were placed in other university housing or stayed with friends. All were able to move back in later in the day, he said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sixth person charged in motel meth bust

    A sixth person has been charged in connection with a methamphetamine-making operation discovered last week at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond.
    Roger M. Million, 24, Moberly Road, was charged Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

     View Results