August 8, 2011

Owens’ murder case goes to grand jury

Brother arrested for profanity in courtroom

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The day after their grandmother was buried, two brothers were in jail together — one charged with her murder and the other charged with inappropriate behavior in the courtroom.

Jeremy Owens was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday on charges that he shot his grandmother, 74-year-old Bernice Champlin, at her Lily residence on Wednesday, July 27.

During his preliminary hearing in Laurel District Court, Owens entered a not guilty plea to the murder charge. Kentucky law prevents felony offenses from being tried at the district court level, and Owens’ case will be presented to a Laurel grand jury within 60 days of the preliminary hearing.

Laurel County Sheriff’s Detective Billy Madden testified Owens admitted killing his grandmother. Champlin was found lying in the hallway of her Queen Road home with a gunshot wound to her head. Preliminary autopsy reports revealed she was also stabbed and severely beaten in the face prior to the shooting. Owens’ bond remained at $250,000 cash and he was returned to the Laurel County Detention Center after the hearing.

An unexpected turn of events came when, as the hearing ended, Owens’ 30-year-old brother Josh stood up and uttered a profanity in a loud voice toward the judge. Josh Owens was arrested by court bailiffs and charged with disorderly conduct.

Josh Owens, of Stilesville, Ind., joined his brother in the Laurel County Detention Center. He was scheduled for an arraignment hearing on Wednesday.