LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – The man accused of killing his brother-in-law has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.
Willow Bruce Cherry pleaded not guilty to killing Peter Lian on Feb 19. The case was initially reported as a missing persons case, but subsequent discoveries led investigators to charge Cherry.
Just after 1 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2018, Lexington Police responded to the 100 block of North Mount Tabor Road reference the report of a missing adult, 35-year-old Lian.
The criminal complaint says that Cherry showed up at Lian’s house and they got into a fight. It states that Lian’s wife saw her brother, Cherry, “on top of Peter beating him”, and she was scared.
It says she left with her toddler and came back later, where she heard her husband locked in the bedroom groaning and calling for help. She was told by Cherry and Cherry’s wife, Misty, not to call 911, according to the criminal complaint. The complaint said she was scared and later left again with her daughter to stay at her father’s. When she hadn’t heard from Peter in three days, she called the police.
Lian’s wife later saw blood on the carpet and Cherry was seen by a different family member with Lian’s car during that period, according to the criminal complaint. The complaint said he asked that relative for help cleaning blood from the vehicle. The complaint said that the relative refused and also noticed that Cherry had Lian’s cell phone.
Cherry eventually turned himself in.
He appeared in court in a wheelchair. His previous attorney from district court withdrew and he is now being represented by a public defender.
A not guilty plea was entered by Cherry’s attorney. The judge ordered him to be evaluated at KCPC.