Suspects in murder of Madisonville man appear in court

HOPKINS CO., KY (WFIE) - Two suspects accused of murdering a Madisonville man and throwing his body in a pond were in court for the first time on Friday.

Detectives say Zachary McPeak and Norman Barassi stabbed Phillip Phelps 22 times over missing drugs.

The Hopkins County Sheriff's Office says the suspects tied up Phelps with a rope, took off most of his clothes, weighed the body down with large pieces of metal and dumped it in a pond.

Detective Shawn Bean testified that on May 9, McPeak came to the Madisonville Police Department and indicated that he took part in the murder of Phelps, but said Norman Barassi was the person who actually killed him.

When Barassi was arrested, officers say he pointed the finger at McPeak.

Phelps' family members were in court on Friday, "We're all lost. It's just hard to understand because PJ was such a great person. They're very hurt. Nobody is getting much sleep we're all just being together... so that they could look at it and see that we are all behind PJ," said Jackie Davidson, Phelps' cousin.

The bond for both suspects remains at $100,000 each and they will stay in the Hopkins County Jail.

Copyright 2014 WFIE. All rights reserved.