Two plead guilty for murder

Published 2:20 pm Thursday, September 27, 2018

Two men who played a role in the killing of a Bell County woman plead guilty on Monday.

On Sept. 24, in front of Bell County Circuit Judge Robert Constanzo, 31-year-old Varion Johnson and 35-year-old Chad Love plead guilty.

On Jan. 23, 2015, just after midnight, the Kentucky State Police responded to a call that a woman had been found dead inside a home in East Pineville on Ole Bell High Road.

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The daughter of 55-year-old Debra Baker discovered her mother’s body inside of her home. According to reports, it appeared that Baker had been shot and the house was vandalized.

A tip to KSP’s lead investigator Bryan Johnson led to the arrests of four people from Barbourville. Those four people were 26-year-old Charles Gilbert and Jr., 20-year-old Brenda Sue Miller, as well as Love and Johnson. Upon their arrest, Baker’s belongings were found with all four suspects.

The charges against the four varied due to their criminal backgrounds. Miller, who Baker’s family called a family friend, was charged with murder and first degree burglary. Gilbert, Jr., Love, and Johnson were charged with murder, first degree burglary, and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

Love received a life sentence following his guilty plea to the first count of murder. Concurrently, he received twenty years on the second count of burglary, and ten years on the third charge of handgun possession.

Johnson received twenty-five years on the guilty plea of count one of murder and to run concurrently, twenty years on county two of burglary, and ten years on count three of the handgun possession charge.

The final sentencing for both men is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 9:00 following the Office of Probation and Parole agreeing on where the men will be housed.

Miller and Gilbert Jr. are both awaiting their court dates.