Trials take place at Laurel Circuit Court this summer

April 27 – Almost 18 months after the shooting death of a Manchester man, the three people charged with his murder have gone to trial.

Robert Brandon Gray of Keavy, Ashley Brooke Lewis and Freddy Wayne Scalf Jr., both of East Bernstadt, were summoned for a jury trial on June 7.

Gray is charged with shooting Jeremy Caldwell in the parking lot of a store in East Bernstadt on December 20, 2020. Scalf and Lewis are charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Caldwell was talking to someone inside a vehicle in the company parking lot when an argument ensued. Caldwell was shot in the head and left in the parking lot as the vehicle – a silver Pontiac G6 – sped away. All three are believed to have been occupants of the vehicle when Caldwell was shot.

The murder sent Laurel Sheriff officials on an intensive search for suspects. Gray was arrested two days later – but not before barricading himself in a house in the Keavy area and refusing to surrender to deputies. This initiated the involvement of the Sheriff’s Special Response Unit. Infrared equipment identified Gray hiding in the attic of the residence. He was taken into custody without further incident.

Lewis went free for 10 days and was arrested for her involvement in the murder on December 30. Scalf was taken into custody on January 9. All three remain incarcerated at the Laurel County Correctional Center.

Lewis will also face two other trials on the same date. She is charged with two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia in one case and a convicted felon in possession of a handgun in another.

– A former state representative who resigned his seat last year, is also due to stand trial on Aug. 3. Robert S. Goforth, who represented the 89th District at the time of the incident, was arrested after being charged with strangling his wife during a domestic dispute in 2020. He is also charged with fourth-degree assault, of domestic violence, resulting from this incident.

—Brian Keith Eldridge, 47, of London, will wait a bit longer for a trial date as lab results are still pending in his case. Eldridge is accused of shooting Timothy Preston Miller, also from London, in June last year. Miller was driving along Hal Rogers Parkway in western Laurel County when Eldridge allegedly pulled up next to him and began shooting at the driver’s side door. Miller drove off the roadway but Eldridge reportedly turned and fired several more shots into Miller’s vehicle. Eldridge then fled the scene, heading west towards Somerset.

Passers-by stopped to check on Miller, with an off-duty nurse performing CPR until EMS arrived on the scene. EMS personnel continued to administer aid until Miller was pronounced dead at the scene by the Laurel County Coroner’s Office.

Eldridge’s flight from the scene led Laurel 9-1-1 dispatchers to notify Somerset law enforcement of the situation. Eldridge’s vehicle was stopped just before entering the Somerset city limits by Somerset Police and Kentucky State Police. A pistol, believed to be the weapon used in the shooting, was inside Eldridge’s vehicle.

According to information released in the case, Eldridge and Miller were acquaintances, although Eldridge told investigators he did not know why he shot Miller.

—Jonathon Ryan Mathews is also scheduled for trial on June 7, on charges of strangulation, fourth-degree assault (domestic violence), fourth-degree assault with minor injury, and threatening terrorism.

—Jonathan Glen Coots will face a jury trial on June 8, for first-degree strangulation, fourth-degree assault, domestic violence with minor injury and terrorism threat.

—Jamie Lee Malicoat was tried on August 2. He is charged with trafficking in controlled substances (methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

—Shawn Isaiah Hatton is due to stand trial on June 7 for failing to comply with sex offender registration.

—Cassie Campbell faces a June 9 trial date for receiving stolen property over $1,000 but under $10,000.

About Jessica J. Bass

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