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Kingscreek man tortured dog, jury says



The Letcher Grand Jury has named a Kingscreek man in a seven-count indictment that includes a charge of torturing and killing a male Yorkie dog.

The accused, Donny Ratliff, 65, of 510 Ratliff Branch, is also charged with third-degree assault for allegedly hitting Letcher County Sheriff ’s Deputy Alisha Congleton while she placed him under arrest.

Congleton said the dog was killed sometime after it was awarded to Ratliff ’s former daughter-in-law as part of a divorce settlement involving Ratliff ’s son. She said an autopsy performed by a veterinarian shows the dog, which had been thrown over a Big Cowan Mountain hillside, suffered four broken ribs while being crushed to death.

Congleton said Ratliff maintains the dog was killed by another Yorkie, but the autopsy shows it died of “major blunt trauma.”

The arrest of Ratliff came after Congleton went to his home to conduct a “welfare check” on dogs that were living there.

Ratliff is also charged with fleeing or evading police on foot (second degree), resisting arrest, disorderly conduct (second degree) and menacing.

Congleton, a sergeant in the sheriff ’s office, testified before the jury returned the indictment.

Others indicted are:

• Dustin C. Banks — Robbery (first degree)

Banks, 34, of 27 Welch Hollow, Neon, is charged with threatening to use physical force on the employees of Jenkins Rite Aid while robbing the store on December 12.

Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens testified in the case.

• Russell Belcher — Assault (second degree), sexual abuse (first degree) and unlawful imprisonment (first degree).

The grand jury says Belcher, 81, of 45 Blaze Br., Dorton, injured Kathy Hall and subjected her to sexual contact on October 23. Belcher is also accused of restraining Hall, exposing her to a risk of injury.

Jenkins Police Officer Michael Garner testified in the case.

• Dustin K. Caudill — Receiving stolen property (under $10,000) and being a persistent felony offender.

Caudill, 32, of 673 Carbon Glow Rd., Blackey, is charged with receiving three stolen Alcoa truck rims valued at more than $500 and belonging to Eddie Combs.

Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department Officer Alisha Congleton testified in the case.

• Johnny Mullins — Arson (second degree).

Mullins, 24, of Goodwater Falls Apt. 104, Jenkins, is accused of starting a fire on November 8 to destroy or damage a building belong to Terry Braddock.

Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens testified in the case.

• James F. Pease — Possession of controlled substance (first offense, drug unspecified), possession of controlled substance (first offense, opiate), possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication by controlled substance (excludes alcohol).

The grand jury charges Pease, 39, of 130 Grassy Fork, Jackhorn, with possession of an unspecified drug and with Oxycodone on October 19. Pease is also accused of appearing in a public place while under the influence of a controlled substance.

Neon Police Officer Allen Bormes testified in the case.

• Karen Denise Johnson — Possession of controlled substance (first degree, first offense, methamphetamine), theft (shoplifting), possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication, controlled substance (excludes alcohol).

Johnson, 38, of 10516 Indian Creek, Pound, Va., is accused of possessing methamphetamine and taking property belonging to Jenkins Rite Aid on December 12. Johnson is also charged with appearing in a public place while under the influence of a controlled substance.

Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens testified in the case.

• Shane Hamilton — Assault (second degree), criminal mischief (first degree), two counts of leaving the scene of an accident without rendering aid, operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs (first offense), careless driving and failure to produce insurance card.

Hamilton, 29, of 351 Crossover Rd., Mayking, is charged with injuring Christina Brown while operating a vehicle on August 20. Hamilton is also accused of leaving the scene of the accident without rendering aid to Christina Brown and Ricky Brown, damaging property belonging to Ansley Sexton, and being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Whitesburg Police Officer Paul Byron Sparkman testified in the case.



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