London man accused of death of toddler indicted for murder, arson on Friday

A London man accused of setting fire to his home resulting in the death of his nearly 2-year-old son was indicted Friday by a Laurel County grand jury.

Ashley Vaughn Brock, II, 26, was named in a two-count indictment for charges that allegedly occurred March 30.

Count one of the indictment charges Brock with murder.

Count two of the indictment charges Brock with first-degree arson.

On the date listed in the indictment, the London Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire in Marvin Garden Mobile Home Park on Reams Lane. After arriving at the scene and extinguishing the fire, members of the fire crew discovered the body of a toddler in a washing machine inside the home.

Law enforcement officials were then dispatched to begin an investigation. The mother of the child was reportedly at work at the time of the incident.

Police said that witnesses claimed to hear several loud noises before allegedly seeing Brock running from the home.

Brock eluded police for several days before eventually being located at a Mill Creek Drive apartment complex in the Keavy community on April 3.

According to Kentucky State Police Detective Chris Saunders, who was the investigating officer in the case and provided court testimony during Brock’s preliminary hearing in Laurel District Court last month, inspections performed by arson investigators show that the fire was not caused by means of electrical outlets or components.

When police questioned Brock about the incident after his arrest, he allegedly stated that he had smoked some marijuana, fallen asleep on the couch with his son and woke up to the house ablaze with his son nowhere to be found. Brock allegedly denied knowing how his son got in the washing machine, but said that “the child had been acting up,” according to Saunders’ testimony.

An autopsy of the toddler was performed by the state medical examiner, which Saunders said showed that the cause of death was smoke inhalation.

During April’s hearing, Brock’s attorney, Kara Ottis, argued that Brock being charged with the murder of his son is predicated on the charge of arson, which would mean that he had to intentionally set his home on fire. Therefore, if he did not set the home on fire purposely—or at all—then he was not the reason for the death of his son.

Ottis pointed out that investigators did not offer a specific cause for the fire, merely coming to the conclusion that it was not caused by faulty wiring or electrical issues. For that reason, Ottis argued that for probable cause to be found in the case, Brock would have had to intentionally started the fire and that there was no concrete evidence showing that he had.

Ultimately, the judge determined the case showed probable cause, sending in on to a grand jury.

Brock currently remains jailed in the Laurel County Correctional Facility under a $500,000 cash bond.

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