October 29, 2012

Gilliam not clear yet

Prosecution examining judge’s order, will appeal if able

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The tribulations for a London woman accused of killing her attorney husband last year are not quite exhausted yet, according to prosecuting attorneys.

Lisa Gilliam walked away from the Laurel Circuit courtroom last week after Special Judge Robert McGinnis ordered a directed verdict of acquittal against her. Gilliam was charged with the Jan. 7, 2011, shooting death of her late husband, Larry Gilliam.

After a three-day trial in mid-September, jury members could not agree on a verdict and the case ended with a hung jury that would require another trial.

However, Gilliam’s Attorneys Scott Foster and Robert Norfleet of Somerset, filed a motion for a directed verdict just two days later. A directed verdict occurs when the judge, rather than the jury, makes the final decision in a case. A directed verdict usually comes when a jury fails to reach a unanimous decision.

While Gilliam’s attorneys contend that the case is now over, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele said that might not be the case.

“I will be looking at the judge’s order — which I haven’t received yet — and if his order can be appealed in any way, I will be appealing it,” Steele said.

He explained that how the order of acquittal was written is key in whether an appeal can be filed or not.

“The law requires a judge to look at certain things and I will be checking to see if there is anything in that order that can be appealed,” he added.

Appeals can be filed for different reasons, but attorneys primarily look to see if some legal procedure has been breached by the judge hearing the case.

“The only thing I cannot appeal is a jury’s decision,” Steele said. “But if there is anything at all in the judge’s order that can be appealed, I will be filing an appeal.”