Trial for man facing double murder charges slowed

A trial in Laurel County has further slowed the case against a Corbin man facing double murder charges from a June 2017 shooting that left two men dead.

Paul Parsons, 49, appeared in Whitley Circuit Court for a pretrial conference Monday, his first together with his new attorney, Michael Brophy, who took over the case earlier this year following the retirement of Parsons' previous attorney, Ron Findell.

However, Brophy informed the court that Commonwealth's Attorney Jackie Steele, who typically serves as the chief prosecutor for the 27th Judicial Circuit consisting of Laurel and Knox County, could not be present due to a previously-scheduled trial in Laurel Circuit Court where a jury had been seated and was to proceed as planned.

Steele was appointed as special prosecutor in the case last month by the Kentucky Prosecutor's Advisory Council at the request of Commonwealth's Attorney Ronnie Bowling in January because of a conflict of interest.

Parsons' recent trip to the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange was also briefly discussed during Monday's proceedings, with Brophy noting that a physician's report has yet to be returned. That report will provide vital information concerning Parsons' recent evaluation at the center, including the physician's opinion regarding Parsons' ability to stand trial.

It is the second psychiatric evaluation that Parsons has underwent in the past year. He was determined to be competent following that assessment.

Once the new KCPC report is received, a competency hearing will likely be set.

A follow-up pretrial conference has been scheduled for April 1 at 1 p.m.

The case has been slowed to a crawl for quite some time due to lacking evidentiary items that are necessary for the case to move forward still being in the possession of the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab, where they have been undergoing further investigation. Much of Parsons' court appearances in 2018 revolved around timeline updates concerning that evidence.

A speedy trial has been requested on Parsons' behalf in both March and August 2018, and though a jury trial was set in July 2018, that was continued due to the lack of evidentiary items.

Parsons was arrested June 7, 2017, after a 911 call was received by Kentucky State Police Post 11 concerning a shooting at a Fred Nash Lane residence in Corbin. Upon arrival at the scene, troopers found two men, identified as Denver Nicely, 47, of Corbin and Joshua C. Wernicke, 28, of Keavy, shot to death inside the home.

Parsons had originally been arrested for alcohol intoxication in a public place by officers with the Corbin Police Department, but was later pinpointed as a suspect in the shooting and charged with two counts of murder and first-degree burglary. He was indicted on the charges in July 2017.

Parsons remains jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center under a $1 million cash bond.

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