By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The couple who traded their 1999 pickup for an infant could possibly be indicted next month.
Jeremy and Jamiee Brown waived their preliminary hearing in Laurel District Court on Tuesday and will take their chances on the evidence presented to a Laurel grand jury in August.
A preliminary hearing includes presentation of evidence in the case with the district judge deciding whether the offense is a felony. Felony cases cannot be heard at the district court level so each case is judged as either a misdemeanor and settled at the district court level or if probable cause is found that a felony offense has been committed, the case then goes before the grand jury. Grand jury members then hear the evidence in the case and return or deny an indictment — a legal form stating the crime, its date, victims, and legal charges.
The couple is still being held in jail on a $2,500 cash bond each.
The Browns were arrested on July 12 after Laurel County Sheriff’s officials became aware of the alleged trade of a truck for a newborn child. The Browns gave the child’s birth mother the 1999 Dodge pickup in exchange for the child. The child’s birth mother, 30-year-old Heather Kaminsky, then sold the truck for $800 and an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine. Kaminskey remains free and is the subject of a search by local police regarding the charges.
According to Chief Deputy Eddy Sizemore, Kaminskey was childhood friends with the couple and came to Kentucky to escape meth-related charges in Florida where she lived. Although the Browns initially told police that the child was the product of an affair between Kaminskey and Jeremy Brown, Kaminskey’s mother verified that Kaminskey was already pregnant when she left Florida in January of this year. She allegedly has two other children in Florida that were taken by social service workers and also fled to Kentucky to prevent the loss of her third child. The male child was born on January 15 and the Browns allegedly had him since birth. The Browns have three other children--all boys--and Sizemore said the now six-month-old child “seems healthy” and appeared to be well taken care of.
However, the Browns were each charged with human trafficking, a Class B felony that carries a 10- to 20-year prison sentence. Kaminskey faces the same charge when she is located and arrested as well as her pending legal issues in Florida.
Should a grand jury find evidence significant enough, the Browns could be indicted, which is a legal document stating the defendants, the victims, the crime and date of the crime(s) as well as the charges.
After an indictment is returned, the court process begins over again. Those indicted must appear in court to answer the charges (an arraignment) and bond will be set or denied. If bond is allowed, the person indicted must be jailed until the bond is paid. Once free on bond, an individual must agree to come to all court appearances and follow conditions of the bond which always include ‘no further violations’ while that case is pending in the court system.