Friday October 25, 2013

On Thursday night there was a big break in a Knott County murder investigation.

Kentucky State Police arrested 37-year-old Gary Ward, of Johnson County, for the murder of Christina Barnett.

Earlier this month, a Knott County Grand Jury heard evidence from state police and issued a warrant for Ward.

Ward is charged with murder, evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse.

Today marks one month since Barnett's body was found under a pile of trash in a wooded area just off Highway 80 in Knott County by her sister and some friends.

Barnett's mother, Donna Hale, said she believes Ward is the man her daughter met online.

As of Thursday night Ward was being held in the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard.

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Four people who worked for the Floyd County city of Martin - including the former mayor and her daughter - were indicted Thursday on fraud charges.

Former mayor Thomasine Robinson and three others misused federal money and took part in a scheme to defraud the Social Security Administration, according to prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's office.

The nine-count indictment targets Robinson, her daughter and former Martin Community Center director Rita Whicker, former city employee Ginger Halbert and city bookkeeper Ethel Clouse.

The four women are charged with conspiring and social security fraud, misappropriating money from a federal program and aggravated identity theft.

If convicted, they could spend at least two years in prison on each count.

Robinson was voted out of office by three votes in November 2012.

The four women will be arraigned Nov. 5 in federal court in Pikeville.

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The mystery of what happened to a well-known Floyd County lawyer who disappeared four months ago has been solved.

Friends were concerned Clyde Johnson had died when he went missing June 24, but police confirmed finding him earlier this week at a campground in Port O'Connor, Texas, which is on the Gulf of Mexico north of Corpus Christi.  

This is according to Attorney Ned Pillersdorf, a friend of Johnson's.

Pillersdorf said he was told that when a Texas police officer approached Johnson at the campground this week, Johnson told the officer he was fine and to leave him alone.

Johnson, 47, was a fixture in Floyd County, representing more than 100 clients, serving as president of the county bar association and helping coach high school football.

In June, Johnson told his secretary that he was going to take his dog, Pete, and go fishing, and would not be back until June 24.   He never returned and state police opened a missing person investigation.

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United Steel Workers and officials with the Harlan Health and Rehab Center have a reached a tentative agreement that could avoid a strike.

The United Steel Workers sent a ten day strike notice to the nursing home last week.

The notice says if an agreement is not reached by midnight on October 31st, employees have the option go on strike.

The local Union Steel Workers President say they reached the tentative agreement Wednesday night with a federal mediator.

The employees will vote on Monday whether to accept it.