By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The man who terrorized residents in the southeastern region of the county earlier this year is now facing a 30-year prison sentence.
Jeffery Sasser, 48, was found guilty of first-degree burglary, receiving a stolen firearm, first-degree robbery, and being a first-degree persistent felony offender by a Laurel County jury on Tuesday in Laurel Circuit Court. The jury recommended that Sasser serve 30 years on the burglary charge and 30 years on the robbery charge, both of which would run at the same time. That would give Sasser a total of 30 years, although he will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years.
Residents in the Brannon Mill Road area of Campground were on alert as police searched throughout the day of Feb. 12 for a man who had invaded homes and threatened residents in the area early that morning. The drama unfolded when Sasser knocked on the door of Jonathan Duke’s residence, telling a story about his missing granddaughter and asking for money. After speaking with Duke for a few minutes, Sasser tried to gain entry into the home, but when Duke was unyielding, Sasser pulled a gun on him.
Duke, a retired police officer, immediately slammed the door and called 9-1-1, but Sasser had long gone when police arrived. The firearm Sasser used to threaten Duke was discovered to have been stolen from another person three days prior to the Feb. 12 incident.
Although Sasser fled police after the confrontation with Duke, he didn’t stop his terror acts. Later that same morning, he entered another residence, completely ransacking it and storing stolen items in a pillowcase from the home.
That afternoon Sasser was spotted in the Lily area on Slate Ridge Road where he again fled police but this time was captured. The pillowcase, stolen items, a knife, a Halloween mask and duct tape were all found on him at the time of his arrest.
Laurel County Sheriff’s Detective Charlie Loomis investigated the case, with Constable Tim May assisting.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 20 in Laurel Circuit Court before Circuit Judge Tom Jensen.