Whitesburg KY

Man facing death penalty faces new count of mischief

When Jonathan Keith Marlow destroyed a broom in the Letcher County Jail last week, staff members didn’t know whether he was acting out of anger at being told he is facing the death penalty or whether he simply broke the mop’s handle while exercising.

What is certain, however, is that jail officials are no longer going to stand by and do nothing while public property is being destroyed by inmates who overpopulate the crowded facility.

On July 6, deputy jailers filed a criminal citation charging the 22-year-old Marlow with thirddegree criminal mischief for “intentionally breaking a mop handle in Cell 121 and admitting to breaking mop handle.”

“He said it was an accident, but it would be hard to accidentally break the handle on one of those mops,” Jailer Don McCall said Monday night.

If Marlow didn’t break the handle in a fit of anger, McCall said the 150-pound inmate might have snapped it in two while trying to fashion a homemade set of barbells for exercising.

“When they tear up public property we’re going to charge them with a crime,” McCall said.

Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II filed notice in Letcher Circuit Court late last month that he intends to seek the death penalty as a punishment when Marlow stands trial for allegedly murdering 72- year-old Hobart Elkins of Partridge after robbing Elkins of $19 on June 14.

The Letcher County Jail was built to house 54 prisoners when it was opened less than eight years ago. The jail had an inmate population of 107 on Monday.

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