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Possible agreement presented in Burke case

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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 8:00 am

The prosecution has extended a reported plea offer to the man accused of stabbing his mother to death last summer in Murray.

Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship said that he notified attorney Cheri Riedel late Thursday of the offer in the case of Michael Joseph Burke of Murray. Riedel also acknowledged receiving the Commonwealth’s offer in front of Calloway Circuit Judge Dennis Foust Friday morning.

“I just haven’t had time, yet, to discuss this with my client,” Riedel said after Burke joined her at the defense podium in the circuit courtroom. She later said she hopes to meet with Burke sometime next week to discuss the possible agreement.

Blankenship said the offer was discussed with, and approved by, family members.

Foust set a status hearing in the case for Feb. 25, which Riedel said would give her time to review the deal with Burke and perhaps have a response from the defense ready for discussion in open in court. Burke allegedly stabbed Karen McClellan several times in an incident that occurred July 9 at a 13th Street apartment in Murray. Burke was found mentally competent to stand trial during a hearing a few weeks ago.

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The trial date of a Murray man accused of being part of a burglary ring that left Calloway County residents on edge last summer was changed Friday.

Attorney Ches Clark, who represents defendant William D. Elliott, said conflicts with his scheduled caused him to ask for a change from the previously set date of May 27-28  in front of Foust Friday. After a look at the calendar, Clark and the prosecution agreed on May 7-8 for the new trial date.

Foust set the final pre-trial conference in the case for April 22. Elliott faces charges involving three separate burglaries.

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The case of a Hazel woman previously accused of assisting in a December escape of three inmates from the Calloway County Jail workouse in downtown Murray was dismissed Friday.

Ashley Besette had been charged with complicity to escape 2nd degree in connection with the reported escape of inmates Terry Hardin of Bowling Green, Bradley Cathey of Hazel and Tab Delancey of Arkansas that occurred on the evening of Dec. 15. Blankenship said he asked for a dismissal because of lack of evidence in the case.

Lasey Jones of Hazel, also accused of assisting in that reported escape was arraigned Wednesday in Calloway Circuit Court on complicity charges that were set forth by a Calloway County grand jury.

***

Cathey was arraigned Friday on charges of escape 2nd degree.

Both he and Jones face charges stemming from alleged drug activity occurring when McCracken deputies reported locating the pair at a house in Lone Oak. Two other people were also arrested.

Officials said Hardin was captured at about the same time as Cathey in Bowling Green. Officials said Delancey remains at large.

***

Bradley Watkins reportedly escaped from the Calloway County jail last June before allegedly stealing a van from Bad Bob’s Barbeque in Murray and driving to his hometown of Mayfield. Officials reported he was apprehended after a short time.

On Friday Watkins pleaded guilty to escape 2nd degree with Foust imposing a sentence of seven years in jail to run consecutively to his existing jail sentence.

Individuals facing charges are innocent until proven guilty.

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