Press release from defendants in Madisonville pawn shop trial

Press release from defendants in Madisonville pawn shop trial
Five employees of Park Avenue Jewelry and Loans were acquitted of all charges Friday morning following a three day jury trial in Hopkins District Court.

District Judge William R. Whitledge entered a directed verdict in favor of the defendants after the prosecution, led by County Attorney Todd P'Pool, rested. A directed verdict is a ruling issued once it is determined there is no legally sufficient evidence that would allow a jury to reach a different conclusion.

"I have always known that these five individuals were completely innocent," said Pamela C. Walton, the co-owner of Park Avenue Jewelry and Loans. "It does my heart good to see the justice system in Hopkins County recognize that these charges were entirely unwarranted and improper."

Jason Scott, the co-owner of Park Avenue Jewelry and Loan and one of the five defendants listed in the case, said the atmosphere in the courtroom was jubilant when the judge gave his ruling.

"He said there was no probable cause for our arrest or detainment," Mr. Scott said. "There were a lot of happy tears from our families when we learned how the judge ruled."Copyright 2014 WFIE. All rights reserved.


Terry Gaines, Kaytlen Dame, Bobby Humphries, Jeremy Ferguson and Mr. Scott were each charged with numerous counts of receiving stolen property and engaging in organized crime in February 2014.

Charges were filed after members of the Madisonville Police Department received information from Hannah Heath, a 25-year-old woman with prior drug trafficking and theft convictions. Ms. Heath admitted while under oath to lying to shop employees about the origin of her merchendise.

The improper charges caused prolonged distress to both the wrongfully accused employees and the reputation of the business, Mr. Scott said.

"The employees of this business have always followed the letter of the law," Mr. Scott said. "We will continue taking pride in the service that we provide to our customers and the residents of Hopkins County."

Louisville attorney Thomas E. Clay represented the employees of Park Avenue Jewelry and Loans during the trial and will handle all further legal proceedings regarding the case.

"I plan on taking the legal advice of our attorney at this time for the mistreatment of these employees," Ms. Walton said.

Copyright 2014 WFIE. All rights reserved.