Whitesburg KY

Two inmates freed, including man whose case helped police bust ex-circuit judge

Two inmates from Letcher County, including one whose case was used to help bring bribery charges against former Letcher Circuit Judge Larry D. Collins, were released from state prison recently.

Astor P. Martin, 69, of Democrat, was freed July 27. Martin, who was indirectly involved in a sting which resulted in the arrest and removal from the bench of Collins in 1992, had been serving a 20- year sentence for second-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse since December 2, 1996.

Ex-judge Collins was arrested in November 1992 after he accepted $3,000 in cash in exchange for a promise to probate Martin’s case rather then send him to prison. Kentucky State Police said at the time that Martin was not aware that his case was being used to help bring charges against Collins.

Police said the payment for Martin’s probation was arranged by and delivered to Collins by a confidential informant. Court records show that Collins had not yet entered an order granting probation to Mar- tin at the time of his arrest.

The arrest of Collins grew out of a yearlong probe into allegations of corruption among Letcher County officials that began after a Letcher County grand jury asked the state attorney general’s office for help.

Shortly before Collins was arrested, Martin pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse, using a minor in a sexual performance, engaging in an unlawful transaction with a minor and two counts of second-degree sodomy. The abuse occurred over an eight-year period with a male juvenile.

Also released from prison recently was Steven Wynn, 30, of 3557 Thornton Road, Thornton. Wynn, who was freed July 31, was serving a sentence for first-degree fleeing or evading police, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on a previously suspended license (second offense), operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs, theft by unlawful taking and first-degree criminal mischief.

Wynn had been in prison since January 24, 2007, when he began serving a five-year term.

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