Accused murderer’s motion against jail denied

By Joe P. Asher jasher@civitasmedia.com

February 7, 2014

The afternoon session of Harlan Circuit Court on Thursday saw a string of defendants accused of murder and other charges.

Special Judge David Williams presided over the session.

Shelby Shell, accused of murdering Ronnie King in his home and setting it on fire in Evarts, appeared with attorneys Roger Gibbs and Laura Karem for a pretrial conference.

According to the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Shell’s attorneys filed a motion to prohibit the Harlan County Detention Center from violating his rights.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Karen Davenport called Harlan County Detention Center Sgt. Derrick Moore to the stand to shed some light on the accusation.

Moore testified that Shell was being kept in a cell by himself due to actions Shell had taken while incarcerated.

Moore said Shell has had 22 incident reports filed on him including multiple sexual assault reports from other inmates and escape attempts.

Shell, sitting next to his attorney, interrupted Moore’s testimony by loudly stating “That’s bull…!”

Williams told Shell if he did not settle down the hearing would end immediately. Shell fell silent.

Moore continued his testimony, stating Shell is being treated as a security risk for the safety of everybody involved.

Shell was called to the stand to testify by Karem.

Shell testified that he was not allowed to have a spoon and had to eat with his fingers. He also stated he was only allowed 18 inches of toilet paper at a time and when issued a Bible he had to return it after a few hours.

After some consideration Williams ruled against the motion, stating the Harlan County Detention Center had not taken punitive action against Shell.

Shell is charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence, first-degree robbery, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, second-degree arson and convicted felon in possession of a handgun.

In other cases:

  • Robert Curry, 40, appeared for a pretrial conference on charges of murder, second-degree disorderly conduct, menacing and resisting arrest. Curry has a trial set to begin on Feb. 18.
  • Thomas Polson, 38, of Cumberland, appeared for a pretrial conference on charges of murder, first-degree robbery and tampering with physical evidence. Polson has a trial set to begin April 7.
  • Carl Justin Simpson, 24, of Cumberland, appeared for a pretrial conference on charges of complicity to murder and tampering with physical evidence. Simpson has a trial date set for May 5.
  • Steven Cody Simpson, 27, Cumberland, entered a plea of not guilty to complicity to murder.
  • Raymond Moses was sentenced on three counts of first-degree trafficking a controlled substance, five counts of second-degree trafficking a controlled substance and one count of third-degree trafficking a controlled substance. Moses was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Moses was granted probation for five years on the condition that he successfully complete drug court.

Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 113 or on Twitter @joe_hde