A Whitley County capital murder case is getting a new prosecutor.
Paul Parsons, 49, was indicted on July 17, 2017, on two counts of capital murder in the June 7 deaths of Denver Nicely 47, of Corbin, and Joshua C. Wernicke, 29, of Keavy.
Parsons was also indicted on one count of first-degree burglary in connection with the incident that occurred just outside of the Corbin city limits.
Parsons was in Whitley Circuit Court Monday afternoon for a pretrial conference in his case.
Newly elected Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Bowling told Judge Dan Ballou that he was recusing himself as prosecutor in the case because he met with a member of Parsons’ family previously when he was a defense attorney.
Ballou scheduled another pretrial hearing in the case for next Tuesday to see if a special prosecutor has been appointed yet.
Public advocate Ron Findell noted that Parsons was ordered last month to undergo a psychiatric exam because of mental health issues, but had not been taken to the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center (KCPC) yet.
The Dec. 21, 2018, order calls for Parsons be sent to KCPC, and that an evaluation be performed to determine whether Parsons is now a danger to himself or others, the order stated.
Findell asked that the pretrial conference be moved to Feb. 4 if Parsons is taken to KCPC between now and the Jan. 15 hearing.
Parsons was previously evaluated for his competency to stand trial. He was admitted to KCPC on Jan. 18, 2018, and a competency hearing was held last April when Parsons was found competent to stand trial.
In March, Parsons requested a speedy trial, which typically requires that a trial date be set within six months of that date. Parsons had been scheduled for trial in July, but his trial was postponed because lab results hadn’t been completed.
The shooting occurred shortly before 2:30 a.m. on June 7, 2017, inside a residence at 550 Fred Nash Lane, which is located just off Gordon Hill.
Kentucky State Police Detective James Royal testified during a June 13, 2017, preliminary hearing that Robin Gray, who was in the residence when the shooting occurred, told police she heard someone beating on the door of the trailer, and could hear the man yell, “I told you I would be back.”
She retreated to a bedroom, looked out the window and saw someone outside the door armed with an assault rifle, Royal testified.
She hid during the shooting.
Tosha Wernicke, who was Joshua Wernicke’s wife, told police that Parsons had gone to the trailer a few days earlier armed with either an AR-15 or AK-47 assault rifle, and that he threatened Nicely.
Tosha Wernicke told police that the matter stemmed from a robbery that the two victims had committed earlier, Royal testified without elaborating on the alleged earlier robbery.
Parsons admitted to police that he had gone to the trailer days earlier making threats, but denied that he was armed at the time or that he had anything to do with the shooting, according to testimony and court documents.
In Parsons’ vehicle, police recovered four AR-15 magazines loaded with the same brand of shell casings found at the scene, Royal testified.
Parsons’ estranged wife told police that her husband came to her residence on the morning of the shooting very upset and armed with an AR-15 rifle, which he left at her home and that police took into evidence, Royal testified.