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Retrial brings reckless homicide conviction

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

An emotional courtroom in Bardwell erupted late Tuesday night with a verdict that shocked many in the audience.

Two retired Kentucky State Police troopers had to be deputized by Circuit Judge Tim Langford to keep courtroom order when Kenneth Jones was found guilty of reckless homicide by a Carlisle County jury. The verdict was the culmination of a retrial for Jones, who was accused of shooting his neighbor, Perry Warren, five times in Warren's driveway in 2008.

A jury was allowed to consider convictions of murder, first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, reckless homicide and acquittal.

A previous jury convicted Jones of murder in February 2009. Jurors also found Jones mentally ill and recommended a 25-year sentence, which Langford imposed. Less than two years into his sentence last September, the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the conviction after reviewing an appeal involving jury instructions given by Langford, and a new trial was ordered.

The retrial, which was delayed several times as attorneys debated Jones' mental competency, took two days. Previous trial testimony showed that Jones believed Warren was poisoning his home and truck with toxic gases. To prevent poisoning, Jones surrounded his home with barbed wire, electrified his back porch, installed motion-detection cameras, glued razor blades to his roof and chained his refrigerator door shut, according to testimony introduced at his 2009 trial.

The jury took six hours Tuesday night to deliberate and recommended a five-year sentence for Jones just after 10 p.m. During the 2009 trial, the jury took 25 minutes to return a verdict of guilty, but mentally ill.

"We tried the same case with two different results," Commonwealth Attorney Mike Stacy said.

Jones has been in jail since his 2008 arrest, totaling nearly six years. He will stay in jail at least for the next week while the state office for probation and parole completes a pre-sentence report. If Langford agrees with the five-year sentence, and barring any complications, Jones will likely be released after his sentencing at 1:30 p.m. March 20.

Stacy and defense attorney Doug Moore declined extensive comment Wednesday.

 

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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