Trial set for man facing murder charges

A jury trial has been set for a London man facing murder charges from a January 2017 shooting incident that left one person dead and two others injured.

Michael Paul Collier, 39, appeared in Laurel Circuit Court for a pretrial conference Thursday, where prosecutors asked that the case be set for trial as all issues that had been previously holding up the case have been resolved. With no objection from defense attorneys, Judge Michael Caperton scheduled an Aug. 6 trial date with a final pretrial conference to be held Aug. 1 at 9 a.m.

Prosecutors said that they expect the trial to take at least two days.

The case had initially been slowed due to analysis being done at the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab, though it was scheduled to go to trial in October 2018. That date was continued in September 2018 after Collier’s attorney, David Hoskins, requested it be moved due to to information that he had just recently learned.

Hoskins later said that he was made aware of information concerning a mental health issue. For that reason, he offered prosecutors a notice disclosing that he intended to rely on that new information during the trial.

That information prompted Collier to be sent to the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange earlier this year for a psychiatric evaluation, pushing off the case further.

The alleged 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 Facility under a $750,000 cash bond.

Another individual, Kathy Middleton, 38, of London, who was also arrested in connection to the shooting for allegedly removing the weapon that was used, was also in court Thursday for the pretrial conference. She is charged with tampering with physical evidence.

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