(LEX 18) — A judge on Wednesday denied a bid by a man accused of killing his landlords in 2016 to have evidence against him tossed out and the death penalty dismissed as a possible sentence.
Craig Pennington is accused of killing Bobby Jones and Crystal Warner in July 2016. Relatives of the couple say that Jones and Warner had been visiting family in Letcher County.
The last time relatives heard from Jones and Warner was July 3. The couple was headed back to northern Kentucky when, their family members say, they decided to stop in Washington County and visit their tenant.
Pennington was renting a cabin from Jones and Warner, and family members say he was behind on his payments.
Jones’s body was found in August 2016 in Clark County. Warner’s body was discovered weeks later in Bath County.
In court Wednesday, Pennington’s defense argued that they wanted certain evidence thrown out, claiming that a former Kentucky State Police Detective, Logan Richardson, had stored evidence from the case in his home, which they say is against protocol. Richardson was called to the stand where he admitted to storing some evidence in his own home for more than a year.
The defense also claimed that evidence was kept in a KSP vehicle for long stretches of time, possibly damaging the technology. They argued that extreme heat or extreme cold can cause damage to laptops, cellphones and tablet evidence.
Pennington’s attorneys also argued that evidence had been tampered with and because of that, the death penalty should no longer be an option.
The judge denied the defense’s request, leading to much relief for the families of Jones and Warner.
The court has set another pre-trial date to discuss a venue change for the trial.