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Trio now faces death penalty

A Letcher County grand jury has cleared the way for prosecutors to seek the death penalty against two men and one woman charged with beating an elderly man to death in Jenkins last month.

In indictments handed up last week to Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright, the grand jury charged John William Pigg Jr., Lloyd Steven Pigg, and Christina Collins with complicity to murder, first-degree robbery, and four other charges in connection with the April 12 murder of 70-yearold Ralph Marcum of Fleming- Neon.

Authorities say Marcum was beaten to death with a hammer in a small home resembling a tool shed where Lloyd Pigg, 37, was living next to his mother at 178 B&O Hill in Jenkins. Collins, 31, of Millstone, told police that John Pigg, who is also 37, hit Marcum with a hammer after Marcum refused to give the trio a ride to buy more beer.

In addition to capital murder, a crime punishable by a penalty ranging from death by lethal injection to a prison term of not less than 20 years, Collins and the two Piggs, charges of complicity to theft of more than $300, tampering with physical evidence, second-degree burglary, and complicity to theft of a controlled substance.

The grand jury charges that after the trio “conspired” to rob Marcum of his personal property, they then “assisted or conspired” with each other to murder him by “repeatedly beating and striking” him in the head. The trio committed theft, the jury says, when they “took control” of Marcum’s 1991 Toyota automobile and used it to move Marcum’s body to rural Pike County – an action that also led to them being indicted on the tampering with physical evidence charge.

The indictments say Collins and the two Piggs committed second-degree burglary when they broke into Marcum’s apartment at Goose Creek, where they “took possession of controlled substances” that had belonged to Marcum.

Collins, who was found walking along KY 317 at Deane on the morning after the murder, was also indicted on a charge of alcohol intoxication for the third or greater time.

The grand jury indicted John Pigg, of Thornton, on 15 additional charges for crimes he allegedly committed after he murdered Marcum. John Pigg was arrested after he wrecked Marcum’s vehicle at Payne Gap after leading police on a chase at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour from Thornton, where on the morning after the murder Pigg had allegedly beaten his estranged wife, Wendy Hatton Pigg, and assaulted the couple’s young daughter.

The grand jury charges that before the chase began, John Pigg committed the crimes of second-degree burglary for unlawfully entering the Thornton home of his wife’s parents, Charles and Aggie Hatton; fourth-degree assault for injuring Wendy Pigg; third-degree terroristic threatening for threatening to kill Wendy Pigg; and violating an emergency protective order.

The chase involving John Pigg and Kentucky State Police Sgt. Barry Engle began at the Thornton bridge and ended near Fishpond Lake, when Pigg lost control of Marcum’s car and crashed into a vehicle operated by Nicholas Meacham.

Because the wreck resulted in injuries to Meacham and his pregnant wife, the jury indicted John Pigg on two counts of fourth-degree assault. He was also indicted on two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment and one count of first-degree fleeing or evading police. The jury said John Pigg committed two counts of first-degree criminal mischief when the wreck destroyed the vehicles belonging to Marcum and the Meachams.

Finally, the grand jury indicted John Pigg on a charge of being a persistent felony offender in the first degree. The jury said that in addition to being charged with a separate felony in 2007, Pigg was convicted of charges contained in a felony indictment returned against him in 1999.

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