Case Snapshot
Case ID: 2015
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: horse
More cases in Taylor County, KY
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Friday, Feb 27, 2004

County: Taylor

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: John A. Humphress, Sr.

Case Updates: 4 update(s) available

A Taylor County man faces nearly 50 charges of animal cruelty. Investigators say they found dozens of horses neglected and malnourished on his farm in Campbellsville. Three of them died.

Friday, John Humphress pleaded not guilty to those charges, blaming the starving animals on a worm infestation. A judge ordered the animals to be moved off his property until his trial in April.

A veterinarian caring for the animals says he's never seen anything like this. Dr. Donald Brockman says the horses are improving.

Taylor County is caring for the animals until the court decides their fate. If you'd like to help, a fund is set up in Taylor County and at the American Saddlebred Horse Association in Lexington.


Case Updates

John Alvin Humphress, 61, of 116 Kensington Way in Campbellsville was indicted May 2, 2006 on a charge of bail jumping. According to Taylor County Sheriff John Shipp, Humphress was arrested at a Cave City motel and brought back to the Marion County jail May 11, 2006.

"We received a tip that he was in the area of Cave City," Shipp said. "We sent the warrants down there and the Cave City police made the arrest. We drove down and picked him up." Shipp said Humphress was arrested about 5:15 p.m. at the Holiday Motel in Cave City.

A warrant for Humphress' arrest was issued Aug. 24, 2005 by Taylor District Court Judge Jim Avritt Jr. Earlier this month, Shipp said Humphress' information was entered into the National Criminal Information Center, which allowed all law enforcement officials to know there was an active warrant for his arrest. "The charge is still there," Shipp said then. "He'll have to answer to it eventually. He might as well get it over with and come on back."

Humphress was originally jailed in April 2004 after a jury found him guilty of 47 counts of second-degree cruelty to animals and two counts of failing to dispose of an animal carcass. He was released from jail pending the outcome of several appeals. After all appeals were denied, in June 2005, a judge ruled that Humphress must serve out the remainder of the one-year sentence, which was the maximum the jury could give. In August 2005, Humphress was released from the Marion County Detention Center to receive medical attention. Since then, he has failed to appear for District Court appearances.
Source: CKNJ News - May 14, 2006
Update posted on May 14, 2006 - 9:15PM 
The Campbellsville man found guilty last year of abusing his horses is now a fugitive. A warrant for the man's arrest was issued Aug. 24 by Taylor District Court Judge Jim Avritt Jr.

As of Thursday, John Humphress Sr., 59, of Kensington Way had yet to be arrested.

After being released from the Marion County Detention Center on Aug. 7 to receive medical attention, Humphress has since failed to appear for two Taylor District Court appearances. He was supposed to appear in court again Nov. 2.

According to Avritt, someone from the Marion County Detention Center told him Humphress was sick and needed medical attention. Avritt said he allowed Humphress to be released to receive medical treatment. Humphress, Avritt said, was to return to jail after he was released from the hospital. Avritt said Humphress has yet to return to jail and hasn't been arrested.

"As far as I'm concerned, he's a fugitive."

Calls made to Humphress' home were unanswered.

Avritt said the Taylor County Sheriff's office is in charge of serving all papers issued by the courts. Humphress' warrant, he said, is in their hands.

"I've not heard a thing about his whereabouts."

Taylor County Sheriff John Shipp said deputies are aware of Humphress' warrant and have been instructed to arrest him if they see him or hear of his whereabouts.

"I don't think he's around here," Shipp said.

Shipp said his office is treating the warrant like any other.

"If we see him, we'll get him. If we know where he is, we'll go get him."

Avritt said when Humphress is arrested, he could face contempt of court charges for failing to appear in court. However, Avritt said, a hearing will be held and Humphress will be given a chance to explain his side of the story.

As of Monday, Avritt said, he's received no documents from any doctors or hospitals regarding Humphress' condition.

According to a document written by Humphress and filed in Taylor District Court on Aug. 15, Humphress visited a University of Kentucky hospital. The hospital staff, Humphress wrote, could not be sure why he lost a substantial amount of blood and lost consciousness at the Marion County Detention Center.

After receiving blood transfusions and medications, Humphress wrote, he was ordered to have another test at Dr. Bobby Brooks' office. If the test were to be negative, Humphress wrote, he would be medically cleared. However, he wrote, if the test was positive, he would have to return to a hospital for further medical treatment.

According to court records, Humphress was released on a $60,000 unsecured bond.

Avritt said the reason for the bond was to allow Humphress to receive treatment without constant surveillance from Marion County Detention Center staff. Avritt said the facility did not have the staff available to watch Humphress at all times.

In the document filed Aug. 15, Humphress commented on the bond set when he was released.

"[I] was told that the reason for the bond was so that the jail would not have to send a guard and stay with [me] all the time [I] was at the hospital," he wrote.

"[I] was asked to sign it. [I] was not told that by doing so [I] would assuming [my] own responsibilities for the financial indebtedness of [my] medical care. This is contradictory to the KRS's concerning a prisoner's health care."

Humphress wrote he denies any obligation to any hospital for medical services except those mentioned in state law.

On Aug. 22, another document filed by Humphress was filed in court records stating he had an appointment with Brooks on Aug. 24 - the day he was to appear in court.

He asked the court to reschedule his appearance.

Another document filed by Humphress on Aug. 31 stated that he did see Brooks on Aug. 24. In that letter, Humphress asked the court to report the status of his case.

No other documents in the case have been filed since Aug. 31.

This is not the first time a bench warrant has been issued for Humphress. On June 1, Humphress was arrested and lodged in the Marion County Detention Center.

At that time, a judge ruled that Humphress must serve out the remainder of the one-year sentence handed down after a jury found him guilty last April of 47 counts of second-degree cruelty to animals and two counts of failing to dispose of an animal carcass - despite several appeals of the decision.

Those appeals have all since been dismissed. Humphress' last attempt was made to the Court of Appeals and was denied May 19.

In June, County Attorney Craig Cox said the denial by the Court of Appeals made the case final.
Source: Central Kentucky News-Journal - Nov 13, 2005
Update posted on Nov 14, 2005 - 7:15PM 
The Campbellsville man, John Humphress Sr., found guilty of 47 counts of animal abuse is back in jail.
And, according to a local attorney, that's where he'll stay.

John Humphress Sr., 59, of Kensington Way in Campbellsville was arrested June 1 and lodged in the Marion County Detention Center.

A judge has ruled that Humphress will serve out the remainder of the one-year sentence handed down after a jury found him guilty last April - despite several appeals of the decision.

According to Taylor County Attorney Craig Cox, those convicted of a crime are allowed one appeal to the next higher court.

"In any case, the law guarantees everyone the right to one appeal," Cox said.

The four levels of courts in Kentucky, Cox said, are district court, circuit court, the Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Kentucky Supreme Court.

"Since this case originated in District Court, [Humphress] was entitled to an appeal to Circuit Court," Cox said.

At the time of his arrest June 1, Humphress was out of jail on a $50,000 bond he posted last May. He was scheduled to appear in Taylor District Court the day of his arrest. When he did not appear, District Judge Jim Avritt Jr. issued a warrant for his arrest.

Avritt gave Humphress credit for 32 days he has already served. No bond was set.

Humphress, who has been serving as his own attorney, has filed several handwritten motions since being found guilty on April 23, 2004, of 47 counts of second-degree cruelty to animals and two counts of failing to dispose of an animal carcass.

At that time, he was sentenced to a year in jail and a $2,135.50 fine.

In October, Humphress filed an appeal of the court's decision.

That appeal was overruled by Taylor Circuit Court Judge Allan Bertram on March 3.

According to Cox, those who appeal a decision to a higher court can ask the next higher court to review the lower court's decision.

"After the Taylor Circuit Court handled the one appeal, [Humphress] had the right to then attempt to file for a discretionary review. They denied that."

A motion to review the decision entered by Bertram, filed on April 5, was not accepted by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals.

According to an order entered by the Court of Appeals on May 19, Humphress filed a motion asking that court accept his late filing of an appeal of Bertram's decision.

However, April 5 was one day past the deadline of 30 days to file a motion to review Humphress' case, the Court of Appeals stated.

This appeal, according to Taylor County's Attorney Craig Cox was Humphress' last one. The denial by the Court of Appeals makes the case final, Cox said.

"[Avritt] reinstated the sentence Humphress was given before the appeal," Cox said. "He has simply reinstated that order. We're back to where we were before the appeal."

Since Humphress' motion for a review of Bertram's decision was denied, Humphress is no longer entitled to appeal his case any further, Cox said.

Humphress' appeal asked that his trial be thrown out because Avritt allegedly showed prejudice and bias toward Humphress.

The judge has abused his position, Humphress writes, by "excessively and abusively addressing me personally in court, while the cameras are running, making negative and personal remarks that have been picked up and run on the front page of newspapers and broadcast across all of Kentucky."

Bertram, in his order denying Humphress' appeal, wrote, "[Humphress had a recurring problem with interruptions and statements in front of the Trial Court and inability or refusal to follow the directions of the Trial Court.

"The Trial Court was faced with a litigant who, deliberately or not, continued to repeatedly ignore the Court's directives. In this instance, the Trial Court appeared compelled to resort to ever increasing sternness in its attempt to control [Humphress'] refusal to abide with the appropriate method of placing evidence in front of the jury."

Humphress' appeal also stated that the court failed to grant him a continuance.

Bertram stated that Humphress' attorney at the time, Mark Stanziano, appeared on March 22, 2004, to be able to prepare for trial by April 23, 2004.

However, Bertram stated that during testimony he discovered that Humphress intended to fire Stanziano in an effort to get the court to grant a continuance. Stanziano was fired by Humphress twice.

According to Bertram's order, "[Humphress] complains that he was prejudiced by the denial of a continuance because, although he is not an attorney and has no trial experience, he was forced to proceed to trial pro se and unprepared ... [Humphress] is quite experienced with the court system and has represented himself during both motion practice and trial practice."
Source: Central Kentucky News journal - June 15, 2005
Update posted on Jun 15, 2005 - 7:15PM 
The man found guilty of the worst case of animal abuse in Taylor County is now behind bars.

The jury deliberated for about 20 minutes. At 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 24, 2004 they found John Humphress guilty of 47 counts of animal cruelty in the second degree and 2 counts of not disposing dead horses within 48 hours.

In February 2004, Taylor County animal control found malnourished horses on Humphress' farm. The jury recommended that he spend a year in jail and pay a $1,000 fine.

Formal sentencing and what to do with the horses will be decided on May 3, 2004.
Update posted on Apr 25, 2004 - 8:00AM 

References


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