The Richmond Register

Local News

October 1, 2009

Trial date set for Berea couple in abuse case

A Berea couple accused of abusing their 3-year-old son will go to trial in February.

Ryan Lee Whitaker, 28, and Debbie Whitaker, 23, each are facing a single charge of first-degree criminal abuse for allegedly kicking, hitting and slapping their son repeatedly over the last two years.

Berea police arrested the duo June 19 at a Madison District Court hearing in Berea. The couple were in court that day for fourth-degree assault charges against them to be dismissed, but were taken into custody on the abuse charges.

A Dec. 10 pretrial conference is scheduled to allow attorneys to discuss the case prior to the trial beginning.

Both Ryan and Debbie Whitaker are free on bond.

Robbery accomplice

A woman indicted for helping in a robbery at the Moberly Shell station pleaded guilty to reduced charges in that case, and entered a guilty plea to drug trafficking in another matter.

Crystal Ashcraft, 29, had been indicted on charges of complicity to commit first-degree robbery and possession of drug paraphernalia in connection with a February robbery at the Moberly Shell station.

Ashcraft allegedly was the getaway driver in the robbery, and later rented a motel room where she and the accused robber, Steven C. Chaney, were arrested by Kentucky State Police.

Prosecutors amended the complicity charge, a Class B felony, to facilitation to commit first-degree robbery, a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison, in a plea agreement with Ashcraft.

As part of the agreement, Ashcraft also pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree trafficking in controlled substances in another case, and one year of the facilitation charge will run consecutively to that sentence for a total of six years in prison.

Stolen TV plea

Two women charged with second-degree burglary and possession of drug paraphernalia for allegedly stealing more than $6,000 in goods from the ex-boyfriend of one of the women pleaded guilty.

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