Former jailers get new trial date in manslaughter case

Cris Ritchie Editor

September 5, 2013

HAZARD – The trial date for two men accused of beating an inmate to death at the Kentucky River Regional Jail was delayed this week.
Damon Hickman, 36, and William Howell, 54, appeared in Perry Circuit Court on Thursday where Howell's new attorney, Ned Pillersdorf of Prestonsburg, entered his initial appearance in the case.
Hickman and Howell were indicted on charges of first-degree manslaughter in connection to the July 9 death of 54-year-old Larry Trent, who was being held at the Kentucky River Regional Jail on DUI charges. Hickman and Howell were both employed as deputy jailers at the time of Trent's death, which according to the medical examiner's report was caused by blunt trauma to his head and body.
Judge William Engle optedto move the trial date, which had been set for Feb. 3, 2014, after Pillersdorf noted that he is scheduled to try a separate case on the same date. Hickman and Howell, whose cases have not been consolidated, are now scheduled for trial on Feb. 17, 2014. They are scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Dec. 18, and a status conference on Jan. 9, 2014.
Howell is currently lodged in the Leslie County Detention Center on a $75,000 bond, while Hickman remains on home incarceration after posting bond last month.