Deputy jailers released from house arrest; new trial date set

Amelia Holliday Staff Reporter aholliday@civitasmedia.com

April 4, 2014

HAZARD—Two deputy jailers facing manslaughter charges in Perry County are walking free after being released from home incarceration this week.

Damon Hickman, 36, and William Howell, 54, were indicted in August 2013 on charges of first-degree manslaughter in the alleged beating death of 54-year-old Larry Trent, who was being held at the Kentucky River Regional Jail on DUI related charges at the time.

Hickman and Howell appeared in court on Thursday for a status conference, Perry County Circuit Judge Bill Engle said. Special prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General Barbara Maines-Whaley made a motion for another continuance for the trial in the case.

“In that motion, they stated that they would have no objection to the defendants being released from home incarceration,” Engle said, adding that Whaley had talked with the victim’s family and was told they had no opposition to releasing the defendants.

Hickman was placed on home incarceration Aug. 9, after Paul Hickman posted his $75,000 cash bond, according to records in the circuit clerk’s office.

Engle said Howell had had his bond reduced to home incarceration on Feb. 26, just after Whaley was named special prosecutor.

“When the attorney general’s office got in it and made their first motion to continue the trial, they agreed for him to be released on home incarceration,” Engle said.

Previous bond reduction motions had been made in August and October by Howell’s attorneys, both of which Engle had denied. The Herald reported that Engle said “the facts of the case he was aware of then, which included allegations in the indictment and statements made by Kentucky State Police Detective Joel Abner, led him to believe that Howell and Hickman could represent a danger to others.”

Engle said Hickman and Howell’s trial, which had been continued to April 28, was continued again on Thursday to Sept. 22.

“She said that there’s a lot of material to review and that they needed to interview additional witnesses,” Engle explained.

Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.