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Penny Baird arrested on prostitution charge

Staff report

A Paducah woman who was a focus of the investigation into the 2006 death of her doctor husband has been arrested and charged with prostitution.

Penny L. Baird, 49, of Minerva Place was arrested shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday at a Paducah motel on charges of prostitution, third-degree possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Baird accepted money from an undercover detective for sexual favors, according to Paducah police.

Paducah police officers Kelly Drew and Nathan Jaimet received information about possible prostitution at the motel. They worked with Paducah Police Drug and Vice Enforcement Unit detectives and developed Baird as a suspect. Detectives contacted her and she agreed to perform sexual acts for $100, according to police.

Baird met a man â “ an undercover detective â “ at the motel and accepted the cash. DAVE detectives then entered the room and arrested her. Baird told detectives she had been engaging in prostitution for several months, police said.

In her possessions, investigators found various painkillers, including Percocet and Lortab. She was taken to the McCracken County Regional Jail.

Baird was released from prison in August 2012 after serving nearly six years, according to Todd Henson, Department of Corrections public information officer.

She is the widow of Frank Shemwell, a Paducah doctor who died at age 81 in a fire inside his Buckner Lane home on July 24, 2006. An autopsy revealed that Shemwell died from a variety of factors, including smoke inhalation and blunt force trauma.

Shortly after her husband's death, Penny Baird Shemwell was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and felony shoplifting. She was denied parole in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

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