Trial date set in Miles' case

Billy Joe Miles

The special judge presiding over Owensboro businessman Billy Joe Miles' rape, sodomy and bribery case has set a trial date of Jan. 16.

Miles' defense attorneys argued that the case should go to trial in December and want the case heard by a jury as soon as possible.

"As you can imagine, this is devastating to this man," Rob Eggert, one of Miles' defense attorneys, said at a Monday hearing in Daviess Circuit Court.

Eggert told Circuit Judge Kelly Mark Easton, the special judge assigned to the case, that the first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and bribery charges against Miles, 77, had been damaging to his client's health.

"We don't want a situation where he dies before he is able to clear his name," Eggert said.

Miles was indicted in September 2016 for allegedly raping a home health worker who was at Miles' Barclay Avenue home in her official capacity. The trial was originally scheduled for September, but was delayed after prosecutors for the Attorney General's Office presented Easton with information involving a pending law enforcement investigation that involves a witness in the case, but does not include the potential of new charges against Miles.

After setting the Jan. 16 trial date, Easton told the attorneys he would not postpone the trial again. Because Miles has lewy body dementia, a progressive form of dementia, Easton ordered that Miles again be evaluated by the director of the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center, which examines defendants to determine if they are competent to stand trial.

Miles was ruled competent to stand trial over the summer, but the court will have make sure that hasn't changed before the trial date.

KCPC Director Dr. Amy Trivette, "commented on the nature of the condition, and that it's a continuing condition ... and can get worse," Easton said. "The state's own doctor says, 'You have to look at this.'"

Part of Monday's hearing centered around the pending law enforcement investigation, with a KSP detective telling Easton that police are still waiting on a report from an outside agency before concluding the investigation.

The alleged victim in the case has made complaints about harassment, including that her vehicle mysteriously caught on fire while she was driving. That incident is being investigated by KSP.

Trooper Corey King, public information officer for KSP in Henderson, said previously that investigators were waiting for an analysis from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about the fire.

Prosecutors Jon Heck and Barbara Maines Whaley have filed a motion, under seal, asking the court to decide "how much, if any, of the alleged criminal activity of the witness should be allowed into evidence" at Miles' trial, according to an Oct. 30 ruling by Easton in another issue.

Easton said the record of the law enforcement investigation will be unsealed once a decision has been made whether or not to file charges against the witness. That discussion played into the question of whether the case will be tried in Daviess County or somewhere else.

"There will be quite a bit of publicity" when the reports of the investigation are made public, said John Cox, one of Miles' attorneys.

An attorney for KSP told Easton the outside agency should have the report to investigators in one to three weeks, at which time the case would be turned over to a Commonwealth's Attorney for review.

Easton said attorneys could discuss what parts of the investigation would be allowed during trial, and where the trial would be held, during the next hearing on Dec. 15.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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