July 26, 2012
HAZARD – A legal question postponed the sentencing of a Perry County woman who shot and killed another woman during an incident in the Brownsfork community last year.
Sarah Melton, 43, was found guilty of reckless homicide and assault under extreme emotional disturbance during a jury trial in Perry Circuit Court in June, and received a recommended sentenced of six years to serve. Melton, who was originally charged with murder and first-degree assault, used a shotgun to kill Cindy Caudill and seriously injury her brother, Bill Couch, during an incident in June 2011.
Melton was scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, but since the jury also made a finding that Melton was mentally ill, there arose question as to whether Circuit Judge William Engle is required to assign a psychiatrist to treat or evaluate Melton for any mental issues at the time of sentencing. Engle cited a statute that states the judge can assign a mental health professional, but also noted a previous case that establishes a requirement to do so.
Engle ordered that Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Reed and defense attorney Brent Flowers research the issue, and scheduled Melton’s next court appearance for August 2.