The Times Journal

Posted September 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm

Ronald Copley, who has been in prison serving time for the murder of his wife in November 2007, has been granted a new trial by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals following its ruling of “ineffective assistance of counsel,” according to court documents obtained by the Times Journal.

Copley, 69, pled guilty to the murder of Pamela Gayle Copley in November 2010 and was formally sentenced to 20 years in prison as part of a plea agreement with Commonwealth Attorney Matthew Leveridge. Under Kentucky law, this mean that Copley would have to serve 85 percent of the term, or 17 years, before being eligible for parole. The Supreme Court of Kentucky upheld the conviction in March, 2012.

Another appeal was denied in September of last year. The latest appeal followed soon after, according to court documents.

In the appeal, Copley argues that his counsel was ineffective by failing to fully advise him regarding a defense of extreme emotional disturbance.

According to the Kentucky Revised Statues, “a person shall not be guilty (of murder) if he acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse.” It also reads that a person found to be acting under EED may be prosecuted for manslaughter, which would have carried considerable different penalties.

According to court documents, Copley claims he was entitled to an EED defense but that his counsel did not adequately advise him of the defense, therefore believing he did not have any defense, Copley entered a guilty plea.

Copley has testified that if he had known that the EED defense was an option he would have chosen to proceed with trial instead of entering a guilty plea.

According to court documents, the Court of Appeals concluded that Copley’s counsel provided ineffective representation by causing a delay in proceedings, “which in turn allowed evidence to become stale, preempting the role of the jury by abandoning a defense merely because of contradictory evidence and failing to provide Copley with adequate information to support meaningful choice regarding the consequences of presenting an EED defense.


The Russell Springs City Council is in support of Russell County switching time zones from central to eastern and will draft a letter to State Senator Chris Girdler of Somerset , who recently brought the idea to the forefront for all counties surrounding Lake Cumberland, to tell him of the city’s interest and ask what additional steps need to be taken.

“I have asked some of the community and the biggest part of people that I’ve asked have been in favor of trying to go to eastern time,” Mayor Eric Selby said.

Sen. Girdler has offered to help Russell, Clinton and Cumberland counties pursue the possibility of changing time zones. These counties are the only ones in the Lake Cumberland area still on central time. Adair County has also reportedly been exploring transitioning from central to eastern time as well.

(Footnote: Clinton County Fiscal Court has voted on record at a recent court meeting as rejecting the idea of switching from central to eastern time.)


While an amended ordinance concerning the change still needs a second reading and passage by fiscal court, it appears the Russell County Tourist Commission will be undergoing somewhat of a name change in the coming weeks.

At last Monday night’s regular monthly meeting of Russell County Fiscal Court, county leaders heard the first reading of amended ordinance 95-06, brought forth by the tourist commission which would officially change its name to the Lake Cumberland/Russell County Recreational Tourist and Convention Commission, “hereinafter referred to as the Lake Cumberland Tourist Commission.”

Tourism Director Janette Marson said Russell County would forever remain a part of the commission’s advertising banners, visitor’s guide and social media.

“What I am proposing is the strategic orchestration of making Jamestown and Russell Springs distinctive among the other cities around Lake Cumberland,” Marson said. She said the proposed name change would position Russell County as the majority owner of the lake.

She presented tourism examples, such as Disney World or the Grand Canyon, where tourists know of the destination but, in most cases, not what county the attraction is located in.

“Rebranding and updating the name of Russell County Tourism will be one of the biggest and most important steps we can take to move our county forward,” she said. “I am proposing that Russell County step forward and claim our major portion of Lake Cumberland.”

Magistrate Steve Richardson appeared to be the only magistrate that was not in support of the change but all magistrates agreed that they still believed Russell County should take a role in signage and literature distributed by the commission.

Second reading will take place at the court’s next meeting, whether it be a special called or the regular monthly meeting in October.