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Grand jury releases indictments: Fleeing police, drug trafficking, sexual abuse of child among charges

SALYERSVILLE – A Magoffin County grand jury released the following indictments on July 6:

Matthew Joseph, 36, of Salyersville, is charged with first-degree wanton endangerment, police officer (Class D felony); first-degree fleeing and evading police, motor vehicle (Class D felony); first-degree fleeing and evading police, on foot (Class D felony); and violating graves (Class D felony). According to the indictment, on or about May 21, 2023, Joseph allegedly engaged in conduct that created a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to police officer Deputy Neil Watson, as well as fled from Watson, first by vehicle and then on foot, and intentionally mutilated graves.

According to the original arrest citation, Magoffin County Sheriff Department Deputy N. Watson was patrolling on Elk Creek Road on May 21 when he observed the driver of a Kia Sportage driving the opposite direction, reportedly covering his face when he saw police.

Deputy Watson turned and started following the car, driven by Matthew Joseph, 36, of Salyersville, following approximately one mile along US 460 before turning on his lights at the junction of Gifford Road and US 460. When Joseph failed to stop, the officer also activated his siren, with Joseph pulling over at the Calvary Church.

As Watson approached the vehicle, Joseph reportedly sped off, according to the police report.

Watson pursued Joseph as he reached speeds of 103 on US 460, passing cars on a double yellow line, in curves, and was reportedly all over the road, according to the citation. Joseph made an abrupt turn back onto Elk Creek, returning to the residence of the car’s owner, but continuing to flee police by driving over a large decorative rock, through a ditch, up an embankment behind a barn located on the property, around the barn and stopping the vehicle on a small cemetery.

Joseph fled the vehicle, running up a nearby hill, with Deputy Watson running after him. He reportedly ran back down the hill, onto the road, attempting to make it to the front yard of the residence, when Deputies D. Watson, Lafferty, and Salyer arrived on scene, and the four officers apprehended Joseph in the yard.

Joseph is currently in custody at Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, where he has been held since his arrest in May.

Shawn Holbrook, 38, of Pikeville, is charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, greater than or equal to 2 grams of methamphetamine (Class C felony); first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, first offense, fentanyl (Class C felony); and possession of drug paraphernalia (Class A misdemeanor). According to the indictment, on or about May 4, 2023, Holbrook allegedly possessed quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl with the intent to distribute, as well as possessed drug paraphernalia.

According to the original arrest citation, Kentucky State Police stopped a Ford F150 on Down and Around on late on May 4 driver did not have a valid operator’s license.

A KSP canine unit was deployed, with the dog alerting police to the presence of illegal substances.

The passenger and also owner of the vehicle, identified as Shawn Webster Holbrook, age 38, of Pikeville, was read the Miranda Warning and police explained the canine unit alerted them of illegal substances, asking him if there was anything illegal inside the vehicle, which he reportedly replied, “Yes.”

Holbrook told police there was heroin and methamphetamine inside the center console and that it was all his. A search of the vehicle confirmed there was a large quantity of suspected methamphetamine and heroin in the console as Holbrook had stated. A smaller amount of suspected heroin was in the passenger door inside a small black container with a lid. Police also found multiple small baggies inside the vehicle, noting in the arrest citation that they were the kind of bags commonly used for drug packaging. Digital scales and other drug paraphernalia, such as syringes and a glass pipe, were also found inside the vehicle’s center console.

Holbrook reportedly told police he purchased the drugs in Lexington, paying $400 for the 1.5 ounces of methamphetamine and $1,000 for the 0.5 ounces of heroin.

Holbrook is also still being held at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, where he has been housed since his arrest in May.

Stuart Horton, 30, of Left Johnson Fork Road, Salyersville, is charged with first-degree sodomy victim under 12 years of age (Class A felony); first-degree rape victim under 12 years of age (Class A felony); and first-degree sexual abuse victim under 12 years of age (Class C felony). According to the indictment on or about April 29, 2009, through June 28, 2022, Horton allegedly engaged in deviate sexual intercourse with a person less than 12 years of age, as well as by forcible compulsion, and subjected the child to sexual contact.

According to the original arrest citation from last month, Kentucky State Police Post 9 had an open investigation involving Stuart Horton, 30 years old, from the Left Fork Johnson, in Magoffin County, and a juvenile.

Through the investigation, Horton was asked to come to KSP Post 9 in Pike County to complete a polygraph session, which he voluntarily attended.

Police reported that once the polygraph session was completed, Horton became very apologetic and confessed to the alleged events that occurred between him and the juvenile. Horton reportedly went on to disclose the events in depth, and that the juvenile was initially around 8 or 9 years of age when the sexual acts occurred, lasting until 2021.

Horton was taken into custody at KSP Post 9 on Monday, June 12, and transported to the Pike County Detention Center in reference to the ongoing investigation. KSP also noted that the case is being presented to the Magoffin County grand jury for prosecution.

At press time, the Independent cannot find evidence that Horton is in custody at this time, but that has not been confirmed. Warrants were issued for all three defendants indicted on July 6 in Magoffin County Circuit Court.

Editor’s Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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