Murdered Laurel County man's girlfriend pleads not guilty, removed as executor of estate

Posted at 11:07 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 23:19:39-04

(LEX 18) — Friday brought two developments in the case of the murder of Bryan McCarty in Laurel County.

McCarty's girlfriend, Victoria Strelsky, is charged with his murder. She pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Friday morning. She was also removed as the executor of his estate Friday afternoon.

62-year-old Bryan McCarty was discovered dead at his home on September 25 after deputies from the Laurel County Sheriff's Office went there for a welfare check. According to an affidavit for Strelsky's arrest, she was there when deputies arrived and let them in after retrieving a key from the porch. Inside the house, they found McCarty had been shot three times and was lying dead on the living room floor. Investigators determined he had died early on the afternoon of September 24.

The affidavit said Strelsky was an employee of McCarty's business, McCarty Rentals. At about 2:00 PM on September 24, investigators said Strelsky showed up at Forcht Bank for a real estate closing for McCarty Rentals without him, telling workers he had something more important to do. They said she presented a power of attorney authorizing her to act on McCarty's behalf. The deal, investigators said, would have made McCarty a profit of $450,000. At the end of the meeting, investigators said Strelsky wrote a check for $250 drawn on McCarty's personal account, which she was not authorized to do.

On September 26, Investigators said they met with Strelsky. They said she told them she lived with McCarty but had not seen McCarty since the evening of September 23. They said she told them she had stayed with her daughter across the road the night of September 24 because her daughter was sick and also to see her son, who was visiting from out of state. The affidavit said Strelsky told them she called McCarty's number after the Forcht Bank meeting and went to the house and knocked on the door when she saw his vehicle in the driveway, but that she did not go inside to check on him.

Investigators took Strelsky's phone after the interview and sent it to the Kentucky State Police Digital Forensics Lab. There, the affidavit said, investigators found Google searches from September 24 for "how long to die with multiple gunshot wounds to chest", "will a .22 penetrate the heart", "will a .22 penetrate ribcage", "Body temperature after death chart".

The affidavit went on to say that Strelsky reported a burglary at the McCarty residence on October 7. Deputies with the Laurel County Sheriff's Office believed the burglary had been staged to interfere with the investigation. They said she also reported finding a shell casing inside the back door of the home on October 23. Detectives said they had previously searched that area and were confident the casing was not there prior to her call on October 23.

Detectives arrested Strelsky on March 23, charging her with murder, forgery, and tampering with physical evidence. She is being held at the Laurel County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.

At Strelsky's arraignment on March 25, she pleaded not guilty to the charges. Later that day, attorneys met with a judge to decide whether she would remain the executor of McCarty's estate. After attorneys for both Strelsky and McCarty's children made their cases, a judge decided McCarty's ex-wife, Cheryl Cox, would become the executor. An attorney for McCarty's children told the judge Cox had managed McCarty's business with him while they were married for many years. The judge also gave Strelsky 45 days to come up with an accounting of all the money in the estate.

Strelsky is due back in court on March 29.