Whitesburg KY

Shootings justified, jury says

his right to self-protection when he shot and wounded two men he believed were burglarizing his home in March, a Letcher County grand jury has determined.

The grand jury says Thornton Gap homeowner Darrell Lucas “was justified to engage in self-protection upon commission of first-degree burglary” by the men he wounded, Johnny W. Honeycutt, 51, of Hallie, and Randall Sturgill, 42, of Whitesburg.

The grand jury reported its finding May 31 to Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright. The jury also announced to Wright that it had returned criminal indictments against Honeycutt, of 2045 Turkey Creek Road, and Sturgill, of 951 Highway 1410, charging them with first-degree burglary in connection with the incident.

The indictments charge that Honeycutt and Sturgill went to the Lucas home during the early morning hours of March 20 with “the intent to commit theft,” and that they “threatened the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument against” Lucas.

Kentucky state law gives residents the right to use deadly force to protect themselves from “death, serious physical injury, kidnapping, or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat.”

The grand jury also indicted Sturgill on a charge of being a persistent felony offender (second degree). Sturgill was convicted of a felony when he was 18, and was already under another felony indictment in a 2004 case when the latest incident occurred.

The grand jury voted to clear Lucas and to return the indictments against Honeycutt and Sturgill after hearing testimony May 3 from Kentucky State Police Detective Randy Combs.

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