Whitesburg KY

Grand jury declines to indict in timber case at Craft’s Colly

An Ohio couple have hit a roadblock in their effort to have criminal charges filed against loggers who they say stole at least $50,000 worth of timber from their property at Craft’s Colly.

Since discovering last fall that trees had been cut from their land without their permission, absentee landowners Marvin and Verna Potter had been seeking felony indictments against the persons they hold responsible. The effort hit a snag last week when the Letcher County Grand Jury issued a “report of no true bill” in the case, which has generated national publicity about the problem of timber theft.

After hearing testimony in the case from Kentucky State Police Detective Chris Collins and a land surveyor working on behalf of the Potters, the grand jury reported that “insufficient evidence was presented to warrant an indictment.”

A source familiar with the case told The Mountain Eagle this week that while a survey left no doubt that trees belonging to the Potters had been cut without their permission, there was not enough evidence presented to the jury to show that those responsible for cutting the trees did so with criminal intent.

The Potters could still obtain indictments in the case if they can provide the jury with evidence that shows the cutting of the trees was an intentional act of theft and not a mistake, the source said.

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