Whitesburg KY

Deal calls for killer of Neon man to get 50 years in prison

John William Pigg Jr. has admitted to murdering an elderly Neon man and will be sentenced to 50 years in prison if Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright approves a plea agreement reached in the case.

Pigg, 40, of Thornton, pleaded guilty last week to murdering 70-year-old Ralph Marcum of Goose Creek in April 2008. The plea agreement, which was approved by Marcum’s daughter, calls for Pigg be sentenced to 50 years for murder, 20 years for complicity to first-degree robbery, five years for complicity to theft by unlawful taking, five years for complicity to tampering with physical evidence and 10 years for complicity to second-degree burglary. All sentences are to be served concurrently.

Pigg, who is one of three persons charged in the case, was not subject to the death penalty, meaning that a 50-year sentence is the maximum that could be imposed in his case short of life in prison without parole. He would be eligible for parole in about 20 years from his arrest date of April 12, 2008.

A second defendant, 40-year-old Lloyd Pigg of Jenkins, pleaded guilty earlier this year to complicity to tampering with physical evidence in connection with Marcum’s death. Judge Wright accepted the plea by Lloyd Pigg, who is John Pigg’s cousin, and sentenced him to five years in prison. Lloyd Pigg received credit for 806 days he had already served in jail.

A third defendant, Christina Collins, 34, of Millstone, told police early on that John Pigg killed Marcum by hitting him in the head with a hammer after becoming angry when Marcum refused to drive the trio on a beer run to Pound, Va. Collins was released from the Letcher County Jail in June 2010 and remains on house arrest pending the outcome of her case.

Marcum was killed in a small home resembling a tool shed where Lloyd Pigg was living next to his mother at B&O Hill in Jenkins. Marcum’s body was placed in his own 1991 Toyota automobile, driven to Myra in Pike County dumped over an embankment.

As part of John Pigg’s plea agreement, he and Lloyd Pigg and Collins will be jointly liable for the payment of approximately $8,000 in funeral bills for Marcum and $5,000 to the Kentucky Crime Victim’s Compensation Board. The three will also have to pay $3,000 in restitution to Janet Marcum, who is Marcum’s daughter.

The agreement also requires

John Pigg to answer questions concerning the case that members of Marcum’s family may have. The questions would be submitted through Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II within 45 days from the time the guilty plea was entered. Sentencing is set for late September.

John Pigg also pleaded guilty in April 15 to 10 other crimes he committed after Marcum was murdered. Those charges include reckless driving, speeding 26 miles over the speed limit, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, first-degree fleeing or evading police, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, two counts of fourth- degree assault minor injury and two counts of first-degree criminal mischief.

John Pigg was arrested after he wrecked Marcum’s vehicle at Payne Gap after leading police on a chase from Thornton at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. Police said Pigg drove to Thornton after the murder and beat his estranged wife, who was pregnant at the time, and assaulted his young daughter.

As part of the earlier guilty plea, John Pigg was ordered to pay $650 in fines, serve 30 days in jail for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, serve five years in prison for fleeing and evading police and five years in prison for each of the two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. He was also sentenced to 365 days for each of the two counts of fourth- degree assault and five years for each of the two first-degree criminal mischief. The charges will run concurrently, meaning five years is the maximum amount of time he will serve in jail for those charges.

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