London man's murder trial continued to later this month

The jury trial that was set to begin this week for a London man facing murder charges from a January 2017 shooting incident that left one person dead and two others injured has been continued to later this month.

Michael Paul Collier, 39, was set to have his case presented to a jury at trial Tuesday in Laurel Circuit Court, but it was instead continued at the last minute. The continuance was granted through a joint agreement with Collier’s attorney and prosecutors, according to the Laurel Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

No specifics were provided by the clerk’s office concerning the continuance, though Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele has since state that it was merely a matter of needing more time.

“Due to the complexity of the case and the continuing discovery issues, the parties and the court needed additional time to evaluate some evidentiary issues,” said Steele, via text.

A new jury trial date has been set for Aug. 27.

However, there have now been multiple continuances of trial dates throughout the life of the case for a variety of reasons.

If and when the case does go to trial, Collier’s co-defendant, Kathy Middleton, 38, of London, is likely to be called to the stand to testify before jurors. Middleton pleaded guilty to an amended count of criminal attempt to tamper with physical evidence last week as part of an agreement with prosecutors. Testifying truthfully at trial was one of the conditions prosectors placed on her as part of the agreement.

The incident occurred Jan. 24, 2017, at a Huff Road residence, where deputies with the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to investigate a complaint of a woman being shot at that location.

Upon arrival at the scene, a male victim, identified as Gordon Browning, of East Bernstadt, was found near his truck outside the residence with multiple gunshot wounds. Laurel County Coroner Doug Bowling later pronounced Browning dead at the scene.

Two female victims, identified as Jessica Collier, of London, and Amy Lyons, of Harrogate, Tennessee, were also found at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds.

Jessica Collier and Lyons were taken to CHI St. Joseph Health London for treatment before later being airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington for specialized treatment. Both were later released.

Collier remains jailed in the Laurel County Correctional Center under a $750,000 cash bond.

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