A Perry County man pleaded guilty this week to his role in a 2016 shootout involving law enforcement.
On Monday, March 18, the trial for Josh Neace, 31, of Bonnyman, began at the Perry County Circuit Court. Neace was arrested in Nov. 2016 and charged with attempted murder of a police officer (28 counts), first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree criminal mischief and resisting arrest.
According to court documents, in Nov. 2016, Neace fired more than 18 rounds from a .45 caliber handgun through several sides of a trailer in Greenbriar Court and in the direction of 28 individuals known to have been police officers. During the shootout, Neace caused damage in excess of $1,000 to the residence into which he shot. Additionally, Neace caused damage to a Kentucky State Police vehicle in excess of $500. Documents state Neace also attempted to prevent officers from arresting him by using physical force against them.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott Blair said he had planned to call a total of 20 witnesses. However, on the second day of trial, Neace requested to end the trial and entered into a guilty plea.
“It’s kind of strange what happened — not bad strange — good strange,” said Blair. “We called several of our witnesses and he (Neace) just called it off, said he wanted to plead guilty,” Blair continued. “It was a blind plea, not in exchange for anything, he just decided he wanted to plea.
“We did amend down the attempted murder charges to wanton endangerment, because it better fit the circumstances, but it wasn’t in exchange for the plea, he put the plea in first,” Blair said, explaining that after Neace pleaded, Blair’s office recommended the charges of attempted murder be reduced to wanton endangerment in an effort to be “more ethical.”
Neace is scheduled to appear in Perry County Circuit Court at 9 a.m., April 25 for his sentencing for the charges of first-degree wanton endangerment (28 counts), first-degree criminal mischief, second-degree criminal mischief and resisting arrest.