Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

November 7, 2012

Murder, manslaughter, sex abuse cases appear

By Leeann Akers - Managing Editor

Nov. 7, 2012 —     Several high profile cases appeared in Carter Circuit Court on Monday.

    Randall Offill, 30, of Olive Hill, is charged with murder.  He allegedly lost control of his pickup and ran off the road Jan. 18, striking a creek bank.      

    His passenger, Jeremy Dixon, 37, also of Olive Hill, was ejected from the vehicle. He was later pronounced dead at a Morehead hospital.

    Offill was charged with DUI and murder. The case had been delayed while awaiting blood toxicology results and the coroner's report. Both of those items have been obtained.

    Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Conn stated that he is planning to meet with the family of the victim. who have filed paperwork stating that they do not want the case prosecuted.

    Judge Rebecca Phillips made the point, however, that it is not up to the family alone, that the commonwealth’s attorney represents the state and will ultimately decide if the case goes forward.

    Phillips set a final pre-trial conference for Dec. 17. She expressed frustration with how long the process has taken.

    At that time, she expects a decision on whether or not the case will be prosecuted and then whether or not Offill will accept a plea offer.  Otherwise, a trial date will be set.

    The judge declined to review Offill's request for a bond review because of the severity of the allegations. The terms of his bond remain in effect which means he is still under home incarceration.

    He has missed three office visits. Phillips warned him that further violations would result in the revocation of his bond.

    In other cases, Robert C. Limings, 47, of Olive Hill, appeared for a status hearing on a case from 2009.  

    Limings was charged with murder, arson, and tampering with evidence when the body of Richard A. Hopkins, 52, was found in a burned mobile home near the Garvin Ridge Cemetery.

    Court records show that Limings' jury trial was set to begin Nov. 27 but Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Conn said he was “close to an agreement” on the case.  

    Judge Phillips gave Conn until Nov. 14 to let the court know if there will be a plea agreement or if the trial will move forward.

    Bryan Rice, 38, and Clifford Cathey, 34, both of Grayson, were indicted for first degree manslaughter,  in connection with the New Year’s Day beating death of Heath Toney.

    When Rice appeared in court Monday, Judge Phillips said she would enter an order for Kentucky State Police to “do an examination” and a change of plea date was tentatively scheduled for Dec. 3. Discussion was conducted off the record, so it is unclear exactly what had occurred.

    A final pre-trial conference was scheduled for Dec. 17 for Cathey.

    Jeffery Wayne Roe, 53, of Olive Hill, was indicted in 2006 for first degree sexual abuse of a person less than 12 years old and first degree sodomy.

    A jury trial is scheduled to begin Thursday. KSP returned Roe's computer to his attorney for examination on Monday, and Judge Phillips cautioned Roe about proceeding to trial.

    “Your attorney, Mr. Osborne, will have a very limited opportunity to examine this evidence, which could affect your case greatly,” Phillips said.

    Roe indicated that he was ready to begin his trial.

    James M. Layne, 29, of Olive Hill, was arrested Oct. 16 after the Kentucky State Police received a complaint of sexual abuse involving two juvenile females at a foster home on Grahn Road. Layne appeared before Carter District Judge Rupert Wilhoit on Monday.

    KSP Trooper Marcum and Department of Child Based Service investigator Jason Tackett testified that Layne had admitted to sexual contact with two of his foster children, ages 14 and 15.

    There was some question about Layne's charges, which were two counts of first degree sexual abuse.

    Because the investigation is ongoing, the KSP could not say with certainty if the girls had been forced into the sexual acts.

    However, Marcum and Tackett both said the victims claimed they were afraid.

    During testimony, Layne's wife was escorted from the courtroom for giggling uncontrollably. Judge Wilhoit instructed Bailiff Joe Hammer to remove her from the courtroom.

    The case was bound over to the grand jury. Judge Wilhoit instructed that one charge should be changed from first degree sexual abuse to first degree sodomy, a Class B felony.