The case of a Rumsey man who was convicted of murder in Daviess Circuit Court eight years ago is still the subject of motions and appeals in both the state Supreme Court and in Daviess Circuit Court.
In 2006, William Ashley Yeagle, 40, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison in the August 2003 disappearance of Carole Embrey Hamilton.
Two others, Rodney Wayne Lyle and Michelle Lynn Gaddis, pleaded guilty to criminal facilitation to commit murder in the incident and testified against Yeagle at trial.
Hamilton's car was found cut into pieces in a pond in Ohio County, but Hamilton's body was never found. Lyle and Gaddis testified they watched Yeagle strangle Hamilton, pour mercury in her ear and inject her with cleaning products.
Yeagle is serving his sentence at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in West Liberty. Rodney Lyle testified Yeagle and Hamilton previously had a physical relationship, and that Yeagle had become angry with Hamilton on the phone the night of Aug. 22, while Hamilton was in Lyle's home. At trial, witnesses testified that Yeagle, who made methamphetamine, told them he believed Hamilton was a police informant.
Lyle testified he was given a large amount of methamphetamine by Yeagle and passed out; when he awoke Hamilton, who had left, was back in the home and Yeagle was attacking her, Lyle told jurors. Yeagle testified he helped dispose of Hamilton's body in the Green River but that he was not involved with her death.
Yeagle first appealed his conviction to the Kentucky Supreme Court. The court issued its ruling in 2007.
Yeagle then requested post-conviction relief from Daviess Circuit Court, which rejected the request. The request then went to the Court of Appeals, with Yeagle arguing his defense attorney was ineffective during trial. In 2009, the appeals court denied his appeal for relief.
In 2010, Yeagle filed a motion for a new trial, arguing his constitutional rights had been violated when prosecutors allegedly changed his indictment during the trial.
Daviess Circuit Judge Joe Castlen denied the request, and the request again went to the Court of Appeals. In a 2013 ruling, the appeals court also denied Yeagle's motions, finding that Yeagle's claims for relief should have been made when he first appealed to the Supreme Court after his conviction. The court also found the indictment had not been changed.
A motion requesting the Supreme Court review the court of appeals ruling was filed in July; the court has not yet acted on the motion.
Yeagle's latest motion was filed with Circuit Court in October. In the motion, Yeagle asks the court for a new trial or to set aside his prison sentencing, arguing that Terry Lee Dennis, one of the men who testified hearing Yeagle talk of Hamilton's disappearance, was offered a plea deal in an Indiana case in exchange for testifying against Yeagle. Further, Yeagle argues Lyle and Gaddis' plea agreements, where they allegedly received reduced sentences in exchange for testifying against Yeagle, were withheld from the defense.
Messenger-Inquirer stories from the time Lyle and Gaddis signed their plea agreements say a condition of the agreements was that the two would testify at Yeagle's trial.
In his response to Yeagle's latest motion, assistant Daviess County Commonwealth's Attorney Ken Nall argues that Yeagle is only entitled to one motion for post-conviction relief by law, and that Yeagle has already exhausted the motion.
"(Yeagle) is not allowed another ... motion in this matter, as all of the issues he now raises could have been disposed of in his first ... motion, as he obviously was aware that both Rodney Lyle and Michelle Gaddis both testified against him pursuant to their plea agreement."
Nall denies that anything was withheld from the defense prior to trial or afterward. Nall's response says Yeagle even mentioned Lyle and Gaddis' plea agreements in his brief to the Supreme Court.
Castlen has both Yeagle's motion and Nall's response and will issue a ruling either granting or denying Yeagle's request for a new trial.