Whitesburg KY

Isom man is cleared

A Perry Circuit Court jury
cleared a Letcher County man of allegations that he stole timber from a Blackey couple in 2004.

Jarrod Breeding, an independent logger from Isom, was charged with stealing more than $300 worth of timber from Dean and Nina Cornett and causing more than $1,000 worth of damage to the Cornetts’ property at Caudill’s Branch.

After hearing five days of testimony, short time before delivering a verdict of not guilty to Perry Circuit Judge William Engle.

Breeding was indicted on felony charges of first-degree theft and first-degree criminal mischief after an investigation by Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb. The latter charge was reduced to a misdemeanor during the trial.

The case was prosecuted by Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II. Breeding was defended by Whitesburg attorney Gene Smallwood.

Smallwood’s defense centered on testimony from an expert witness who told the jury that the stumps of trees cut illegally on the Cornett’s property showed a cutting pattern much different than the pattern on stumps that remain on adjoining property where Breeding had permission to log.

The witness testified that trees on the Cornett’s property were cut with a Stihl chain-saw, while the trees on the adjoining property owned by Ronnie Back, who had given Breeding permission to log, were cut with saws manufactured by Husqvarna.

Still pending in Perry Circuit Court is a civil suit the Cornett family filed against Breeding and several other persons shortly after Breeding was indicted.

The criminal and civil cases were transferred to Perry
County after Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright ruled the cases had received too
much publicity in Letcher County.

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