April 30, 2013

Jeremy Owens sentenced in grandmother’s murder

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The Laurel man who killed his grandmother in July 2011 will now serve a 20-year prison sentence for his actions.

Jeremy Owens, 34, of Queen Road in Lily, appeared before Laurel Circuit Judge Thomas Jensen on Friday for his sentencing hearing.

Owens entered a guilty plea in March to a 20-year sentence for the murder of his grandmother, 74-year-old Bernice Champlin on July 27, 2011. Owens reportedly lived with his grandmother at her residence on Queen Road, just off U.S. 25 in the Lily community. The two had been involved in an altercation, in which Champlin was reportedly beaten and stabbed before Owens shot her and causing her death.

Calls concerning the incident began coming in to the Laurel Dispatch 911 Center around 4 p.m. that Wednesday afternoon, with the first being a family dispute. The next calls, however, were focused on the shooting incident that occurred while police officers were en route to the scene.

Upon arrival at the residence, police stayed their distance when Owens’ brother informed them that the shooter was still inside the residence and still armed. Laurel Sheriff John Root obtained a cell phone number for the accused shooter and soon talked him into surrendering himself.

Owens gave himself up without incident.

The scene inside the home, however, was not so calm. The elderly woman lay bleeding and bruised in the hallway of her own home, dead from the shot fired by her grandson. Autopsy reports indicated that the gunshot wound ended the woman’s life, despite the previous beating and stab wounds inflicted by Jeremy Owens.

Had Owens continued to a jury trial, the penalty for a murder charge could have ranged from 20 to 50 years in prison, or a life sentence. Instead, he will now serve a 20-year sentence, with possibility of parole after serving 12 years.