Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

July 10, 2013

Bond rejected in murder case, case linked to drug dealer

By Leeann Akers - Editor
Journal-Times

July 10, 2013 — A bond request was rejected Monday in the case of an Olive Hill man facing murder charges.

Kyle S. Holbrook, 20, of Olive Hill, was indicted in April by an Elliott County grand jury in the 2011 death of Paul Dillon (Nemo) Bryant, 19, also of Olive Hill.

Holbrook had requested a bond hearing at his arraignment in May after bond was not set in his case. He also is charged with tampering with physical evidence.

Defense attorney Brandon Music, who represents Holbrook along with Jeff Scott, indicated that another pretrial conference would need to be set in order to collect more discovery material.

The case will return to Elliott Circuit Court on Sept. 9 at 10:30 a.m.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Brandon Ison called KSP Det. Toby Gardner, the lead investigator in the case, to the stand during the bond hearing.

Gardner, who took over the case in August of 2011, testified as to the severity of the crimes, revealing some information that was previously unknown.

Gardner said that Bryant had been killed with a .25 caliber handgun, which had never been recovered. He said Bryant had, according to witness statements, regularly carried a pistol of that caliber.

Gardner said that witness testimony also linked Bryant’s death to convicted drug dealer Francisco Camacho, Jr.

Camacho, 20, of Grayson, was indicted along with six others, in September 2012 for participating in a crime syndicate.

The indictment charged the seven with 20 separate offenses. According to the indictment, the defendants “conspired with each other and with others” to knowingly and intentionally distribute cocaine and oxycodone in Carter County.

Camacho pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and will serve 10 years.

Gardner testified on Monday that witnesses claim that Holbrook had been paid to bring Bryant to Camacho, and that Bryant had owed money to the dealer.

Music asked if there was any hard evidence linking Bryant to Camacho.

“Respectfully, Nemo Bryant had a drug problem,” Gardner said. “He was involved with anyone who could help him get his next high.”

Gardner said the pattern of communication between Holbrook and Bryant also implicated Holbrook in the death.

According to phone records, Gardner testified that the two had shared 138 phone calls and 39 text messages in the 37 days before Bryant disappeared.

There was only one attempt by Holbrook to contact Bryant after he was reported missing.

“This is a highly publicized case,” Gardner said. “I would expect a friend to try and call the missing friend until he was found.”

A search warrant was executed at the Holbrook residence days after Bryant’s body was found in a pond on the property.

The search led to the seizure of a host of evidence but no forensic evidence or murder weapon was collected.

Music asked that Holbrook’s bond ne set at $100,000 cash or property and he be placed on monitored house arrest.

Judge Rebecca Phillips denied the request, saying that it was a capital offense.

“Nemo was last seen with the defendant and there is no indication he went anywhere else,” Phillips said. “I find it very persuasive that these two gentlemen had communicated a total of 177 times before Nemo disappeared and only one attempt after. It is circumstantial but very compelling.”

Members of Bryant’s family briefly but enthusiastically applauded when Phillips denied bond for the accused killer.

“We were very pleased that Judge Phillips denied the motion for bail,” James Carroll, Bryant’s uncle, told the Journal-Times. “We didn’t hear anything new in the courtroom today, because Det. Gardner has always been very up front about what they know. He has done a great job.”

Leeann Akers can be reached at lakers@journal-times.com or by phone at 474-5101.