More Arrests Made In Arson Cases, Total Of Seven Involved, Including Firefighters, Teens, And A Juvenile
Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
An Edmonson County Grand Jury returned indictments on Monday, November 21, 2016 for six co-defendants who are accused of being involved in numerous arson cases dating back over a year, including the Halloween night Sunfish Mall fire that claimed the historic structure and its contents. A juvenile has also been charged in district court, raising the total amount of co-defendants in the cases to seven.
Wesley Daniel Massey, 20, of Brownsville was charged with:
John Dennis "Richie" Woodcock, 20, of Ambassador Shores was charged with:
Tyler W. Hamilton, 20, of Brownsville was charged with:
Rachael S Duncan, 18, of Sweeden was charged with:
Dylan R. Ramsey, 21, of Brownsville, was charged with:
Shirley M. Jaggers, 18, of Sweeden was charged with:
The Edmonson County Sheriff's office said that the counts of Wanton Endangerment first degree were as a result of the risk of death or serious physical injury that all emergency personnel were subjected to when responding to and fighting the fires. They also said that the charges of Burglary were for illegally entering structures with the intent to commit a crime.
The Sheriff's office also noted that the total amount of felony charges in these cases is 414.
According to the Sheriff's office, the string of arson-related fires ranged from November 24, 2015 to October 31, 2016. In total, the arson-related fires resulted in seven different total losses, and one attempted arson, all of which took place in the Sweeden, Bee Spring, and Sunfish communities.
Three of the defendants were volunteer firefighters. Massey was a Lieutenant for Kyrock Fire Dept., and also a firefighter for Brownsville and Chalybeate Fire Departments. Hamilton and Ramsey were both firefighters for Kyrock Fire Dept.
In a time when several local fire departments are struggling with budget and manpower issues, the arrests of firefighters in arson cases couldn't have come at a worse time; however, its important to note that the Edmonson Voice knows first hand that all of Edmonson County fire departments are full of hard-working, loyal, and dedicated men and women who put the safety of our residents first. Grouping all firefighters in one bad category because of the actions of a few are unfair and we will continue to support our local fire departments.
Sheriff Shane Doyle said that arson is obviously a serious crime and has serious consequences, but continued to back the local departments.
"I'm proud of my deputies for their hard work, and because of that, we were able to close out eight arson cases, crimes which are very difficult to solve," he said. "We appreciate our firefighters and we want to make sure that everyone understands that the vast majority of our volunteers love their communities and genuinely care."
The Kyrock Fire Department said they would not make a statement while the cases are ongoing but agreed to speak on the matter once they concluded.
The Edmonson County Sheriff's Office was assisted in the investigation by The Kentucky State Fire Marshal's office, and both Kyrock and Bear Creek Fire Departments.