Commonwealth Journal

Local News

February 25, 2013

Alleged murder plot goes to grand jury

WHITLEY CITY, Ky. —  

Three men accused of participating in a murder for hire plot appeared before McCreary District Judge Fred White Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing which determined that their case will be heard by the local grand jury.
Timothy Prater, 30; Joseph R. Denning, 19; and Antonio A. Turner, 21, are each facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree unlawful imprisonment in connection to the February 7 attack of a Pine Knot woman.
Prater is additionally charged with impersonating a peace officer and first-degree robbery, while Denning and Turner (who are reportedly brothers), are additionally charged with complicity to commit first-degree robbery.
The three men allegedly accosted Debbie Taylor as she walked from her home to her vehicle on her way to work around 5:30 a.m. on the morning of February 7. Taylor was handcuffed and stunned with a taser device prior to the intervention of neighbors, who had noticed a strange gold Honda in the area.
With all wearing dark clothing, Prater was masked and identified himself as an FBI agent but refused to show any identification. Turner and Denning wore coats with hoods drawn tight around their faces. The men left in the Honda when the neighbors refused to leave and prepared to call authorities.
More details emerged Thursday as the lead investigator, Kentucky State Police Detective Billy Correll, testified as to the evidence authorities have found thus far. 
When he first arrived at the scene of Taylor’s Richard Stephens Road home, Det. Correll could not interview her because she had already been transported to Baptist Medical Center for treatment of injuries, including multiple taser burns. When he did speak with her, Taylor reported that her attackers had attempted to stifle her screams using her own hand. She was ultimately handcuffed and escorted back to the porch where attempts were made to get her to reveal the code to the home’s security system. It was at that point the neighbors arrived. 

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