Man Charged With Killing Somerset Woman Enters Not Guilty Plea

A man accused of killing a Somerset woman in a church building has been arraigned. Dwight Mitchell Bell entered the Pulaski County Courthouse under extra security. An attorney for Bell entered a not guilty plea for him, which is standard procedure in a felony case. Bell faces murder, robbery and theft charges. Police say he admitted to killing Carolyn New in August. Investigators found New dead inside a building at Denham Baptist Church in Somerset. Police say Bell also stole New’s car, drove it to Lexington and then ditched it in Indianapolis. Bell spent several weeks on the run before he was arrested in Dandridge, Tennessee. Bell has a history of violent behavior. He has already served prison time for killing his own father. Last year, he admitted to strangling a woman in Indiana. Now, he is accused of killing New. Police and the victim’s relatives say Bell was homeless and travelled from place to place in search of help. The judge set a preliminary hearing for Wednesday, September 20 at 1:30 p.m. That is when police will outline the allegations against Bell. He will remain in jail without bond until then.

One Injured In Laurel County Crash

One person is recovering after a crash in Laurel County. It happened late Sunday in London at the intersection of Highway 192 and South Laurel Road. Officials say two cars were involved. One of the cars was seriously damaged. Police say one person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

London Crash

Flu Cases Already Confirmed In Kentucky

Kentucky health officials are warning that flu cases are already being reported in the state. A statement from the Kentucky Department for Public Health says two cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza have been confirmed in Jefferson County. The flu season typically begins in October or November. Department for Public Health Commissioner Hiram C. Polk Jr. says getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the virus, which can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches.

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Corbin Police Looking For Burglary Suspect

The Corbin Police Department is asking for the publics help solving a burglary case. Police say someone broke in at the Waffle House this week and stole thousands of dollars. No customers were in the restaurant at the time, but two employees were there. Officials believe it could be someone with knowledge of the restaurant. A man can be seen on the security video walking in with a bolt cutter and using it to get into the safe. Waffle House management told police the man stole $3,800. The Waffle House burglary is one of a string of burglaries in the Corbin area that are beginning to frighten people who live in the area. If you have any information about the theft or the identity of the man in the security photo below, call the Corbin Police Department at (606) 528-1122.

Victims Identified In Triple Whitley County Homicide

The Whitley County Sheriff's Office is investigating a triple homicide. The victims were found Wednesday evening at a home on Deep Branch Road. Sheriff Colan Harrell said his office was called just before 5 p.m. about a possible suicide. Kathy Faulkner told WYMT-TV she came home to find the house destroyed and her daughter, Emogene Bittner, dead inside the home. Faulkner says she later found her son-in-law, Christopher Bittner, and her grandson, Robert Kennedy, III, dead outside the home. Sheriff Harrell says all three victims appeared to have been strangled. He says his office is looking into people of interest. Police also believe the victims knew the perpetrators and that this is an isolated crime.

Corbin Church Burglarized

Officials at Grace on the Hill Church in Corbin say services and programs continue on after a break-in this week. Pastoral Assistant Gus Clouse said the burglars caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to the church but it wont disrupt any activities. He said the burglars didn't find much worth taking. He said they must have just been after quick money because they left behind expensive items like musical instruments and computers. Clouse said the burglars did steal cash from a box in his office and a safe that was attached to a wall inside the church. Police say two people wearing masks were seen on the video breaking into the church. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Corbin Police Department at (606) 528-1122.

Laurel County Sheriff Again Elected To The Kentucky Sheriff's Association Board Of Directors

Last week, Laurel County Sheriff John Root and members of the command staff attended the 88th annual Kentucky Sheriff's Conference in Bowling Green. During that time, Sheriff Root was once again elected to serve on the Kentucky Sheriff's Association board of directors. This will be Sheriff Root's fourth consecutive year sitting on the board. The selection is made by Kentucky Sheriffs from all over Kentucky. Sheriff Root said "it is an honor to serve on the board and to be involved in crucial decision-making that will not only affect the Laurel County Sheriff's office but also Sheriff's office's statewide." The board works on procedures and policies statewide. Sheriff Root first began sitting on the board in 2015 and his new term will begin January 2018.

Sheriff John Root

Laurel County Police Arrest Burglar

The Laurel County Sheriff's Office says deputies were called out to the Vender's Mall near Corbin on a complaint that the owner observed a man walking in the store after it was closed and the building locked. Deputies found the exterior of the building was secure and locked. Officers and their K-9 "Edge" conducted a search and found 18 year old Jordan Wagner of Corbin hiding in a booth containing furniture. Wagner reportedly had also been seen near the cash register area of the store after the store had closed and the building locked. He was determined to be under the influence and was charged with burglary and public intoxication – controlled substances. Wagner was lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center.

Jordan Wagner

Groundbreaking Scheduled For New Knox County Jail

Knox County will have a new jail in a couple of years. According to Knox County Jailer, Mary Hammons, the process for getting the new facility has been long but much needed. The new jail will be located on Highway 225 in Barbourville. Hammons said it will hold around 338 inmates compared to the current facility, which is only meant to hold around 35 inmates. Hammons said she is currently housing around 100 inmates. Hammons said the new facility will help the county financially. The jail currently has to send inmates to other counties, which costs Knox County money every day. She also says the new jail will allow them to offer and expand programs for the inmates. Work has already begun at the location for the new jail. Hammons said it is unclear when the facility will officially be finished. An official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for September 20th at 10 a.m.

Eastern Kentucky County Officials File Lawsuits Against Drug Companies

More than a dozen counties in Eastern Kentucky have filed federal lawsuits against multiple drug companies. The lawsuits state that the “Wholesale Distributors repeatedly and purposefully breached its duties under state and federal law, which is a direct and proximate cause of, and/or substantial factor leading to, the widespread diversion of prescription opioids for nonmedical purposes into the County.” Officials say the drug problems has cost local economies millions of dollars. Albey Brock, the Bell County Judge Executive, said opioid abuse is putting pressure on local governments financially, primarily in our jails and law enforcement. He says when you boil it down a lot of our 911 calls that go to the sheriff’s office are directly related to drugs. He says the money will go to helping people impacted by the crisis as well as other economic aspects impacted.

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