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Grand jury clears man charged with killing ex-stepson

A Letcher County grand jury has cleared a Blackey man of wrongdoing in the death of his former stepson.

Chad Bolling, 37, of Blackey was on home incarceration awaiting a grand jury decision on whether to continue the case against him. Bolling was charged with murder and wanton endangerment and remained in jail for about two months before being released on bond.

Zachery Back, 29, who lived in a storage building in Bolling’s yard, was pronounced dead November 6, 2020, in the kitchen of Bolling’s home.

Bolling never denied shooting Back, but he said he acted in selfdefense.

The grand jury last Thursday returned a “no true bill and order of dismissal” in the case, saying there was insufficient evidence to warrant an indictment.

The no true bill means Bolling is free of the charges against him.

Bolling told police that Back fired a shot out the door of Bolling’s trailer, and then threatened to “shoot him in the head.” Bolling told Kentucky State Police that Back hit him in the ribs with the butt of a rifle and choked him while holding him down on the kitchen floor and holding a rifle in his other hand.

Detective Scott Caudill said Bolling said he retreated to the bedroom for a gun when his ex-wife came and started trying to calm her son. Bolling said he had just come back into the kitchen when Back charged at him, and he shot him.

Police found an empty cartridge from a .303 caliber rifle on the floor, and when they rolled Back’s body over to look for an exit wound, a bullet consistent in size with the .44 Magnum revolver Bolling said he used fell out of Back’s clothing. The rifle was not in sight, and Caudill said Back’s mother told him she found the rifle on the floor when she first arrived and had her son’s girlfriend, Felicia Watts, take it away. Caudill said Watts later told police she took the gun to the small outbuilding where the two lived in the yard behind Bolling’s trailer. Police found the rifle there.

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