James Gibson

Attorney James Gibson of Louisville joins Attorney Brian Hewlett for Drown’s defense.

photo/Tonia Rose
Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

The experts have completed their work and now a trial date could be set in the case charging Robert Drown with three counts of murder.

During a status hearing Monday in Carter Circuit Court, Judge Rebecca Phillips told the court she was pleased to hear the arson and forensic experts were ready to present their findings to the defense and the commonwealth.

“This has been confirmed and now I will give all counsel time to review what has been learned by the experts,” Phillips said.

Another status hearing was set for Oct. 5 when Phillips said a potential trial date might be discussed.

Drown appeared Monday with his counsel Brian Hewlett and newly appointed attorney James Gibson of Louisville.

Gibson was assigned as Drown’s attorney as a replacement for Marcus Jones, whose resignation from the case and the DPA (Department of Public Advocacy’s Capital Trials Division) became official July 3. Gibson is the fourth attorney replacement in the case.

Tom Griffiths, director of the state DPA, told Circuit Judge Rebecca Phillips during the July status hearing that Gibson was one of the “best attorneys he knew”. Griffiths also assured the court that Gibson has worked for the past 10 years on death penalty cases.

The original trial was set for May 5 in Johnson County, but was rescheduled due to expert witnesses for the defense not carrying out their examination of evidence in the case.

Drown faces the possibility of the death penalty if he’s convicted in the 2007 killings of Jennifer Ison and her two daughters.

Drown also appeared before Judge Phillips Monday concerning a second-degree assault case in connection to an incident that took place at the Carter County Detention Center the day before Christmas in 2008.

The charges stemmed from an alleged physical altercation between Drown and Donnie Elliott, another inmate at the time from Elliott County.

After allegedly taking a slam to the face from Drown, Elliott was transported to the hospital where he underwent surgery Jan. 5 at the cost of nearly $10,000.

Phillips asked Drown’s counsel to inform her if another location other than Carter County would be needed to hear the assault case. She said Johnson County would be out of the question because she did not want to exhaust the jury selection but could consider having the trial in another surrounding county.

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