News Around the State

Published 12:13 pm Monday, January 21, 2019

3 charged in connection with 2017 deaths of Ky. family

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (AP) — Authorities have charged three Indiana men with murder in connection with the deaths of three family members in Kentucky more than a year ago.

Emogene Bittner and her son, 16-year-old Robert “Little Man” Kennedy III, were found dead in their Whitley County home in September 2017 along with Bittner’s husband, Christopher Bittner. Authorities at the time said all three appeared to have been strangled.

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News outlets report 33-year-old Anthony L. Hester, 34-year-old Jeremy S. Hatfield and 38-year-old Darnell Chivers have all been arrested and charged with murder, first-degree burglary and tampering with physical evidence.

Police in Williamsburg, Kentucky, announced Chivers is in jail on unrelated charges. Hatfield was arrested in Indiana and extradited to Kentucky last month. Hester was arrested Friday in Indiana by local and federal law enforcement agencies.

Grimes announces she won’t run for governor

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she has decided against running for governor.

Grimes said in a statement on Monday that she’s been considering the idea for months, but that she has decided to focus on what she called her dream job: being a mother. Grimes and her husband, Andrew, announced the birth of their first child in December.

The Democrat said that while she is grateful for the support she has received, she won’t run for statewide office in 2019. Instead, she plans to focus on “the miracle baby boy Andrew and I prayed so hard for,” completing her work as Secretary of State and helping elect new leadership locally and nationally.

Grimes said she looks forward to returning to public service in the future.

FBI seeks help to identify ‘Traveling Bandit’

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The FBI is asking for help finding a suspected bank robber nicknamed “The Traveling Bandit.”

News outlets report the FBI believes the man has robbed at least seven banks in six states since Dec. 28. Friday, the FBI office in Louisville, Kentucky, released photos of the man and the white SUV with Kentucky plates he might be driving. The Lexington Herald Leader reports the FBI would not say what county the vehicle is registered.

The FBI said the man usually gives the clerk a note demanding money and threatening use of a weapon.

The robberies include heists in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois and Utah. The most recent robbery was Wells Fargo Bank in Price Branch, Utah, on Thursday.

Anyone with information can call 754-703-2000 or visit

Noah’s Ark park battles advocacy group over school visits

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A theme park depicting an ark as described in the Bible is battling with an advocacy group over whether public school field trips to the attraction are legal.

The Courier Journal reports the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent letters last month to more than 1,000 public school districts in five states telling them field trips to the Ark Encounter in northern Kentucky are unconstitutional. The letters said it was “unacceptable to expose a captive audience of impressionable students to the overtly religious atmosphere.”

Ark Encounter founder Ken Ham responded by offering free admission to any public school that visits the park on a field trip.

The park features a 510-foot long (155-meter) ark as described in the biblical book of Genesis.

Authorities charge 911 dispatcher with sex crimes

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State officials in Kentucky have arrested a 911 dispatcher and charged him with more than 150 counts of sex crimes.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Besehar said in a news release Christopher James Carroll was arrested Friday in partnership with the U.S. Secret Service, the Hardin County Sheriff’s office and the Elizabethtown Police Department.

Beshear said Carroll is accused of creating fake profiles on social media and convincing minors to send him nude photos.

Carroll worked as a 911 dispatcher in Hardin County. The News-Enterprise reports Hardin County Attorney Jenny Oldham said Carroll is not accused of using county-owned computers to obtain the images.

Carroll is at the Hardin County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond. His first court appearance is Tuesday. It’s unclear if he has an attorney.