NewsCovering Kentucky

Actions

Man Gets Life In Prison In Ambush Shooting Death Of Pikeville Officer

Posted: 5:09 PM, Dec 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-19 18:35:53-05

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — In a courtroom packed with police officers, the man accused of fatally shooting a Pikeville police officer during a pursuit pleaded guilty on Wednesday morning to murder.

John Russell Hall shot and killed Officer Scotty Hamilton on the night of March 13 at Hurricane Creek. He will now spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Hall was a suspect in a theft investigation and was well-known to the veteran cop. Officials say Hamilton was searching for Hall and was ambushed when he walked behind a home where Hall was said to be hiding.

Hamilton was 35 years old.

Hall approached the judge and confirmed that he would enter a guilty plea to charges of murder and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

“I will probably never have closure. We’re gonna have to live with this the rest of our lives,” said Chelsi Hamilton, the officer’s widow.

Pikeville Police Chief Chris Edmonds said it was hard to face Hall when he walked into the courtroom.

“You try to do this profession and have an unbiased opinion, and be honest, and Lord, everything. But when you look over and you have so much anger come across you, it’s just hard to look that way,” said Chief Edmonds.

The prosecution recommended a sentence of life without parole for Hamilton’s death, and a 10-year sentence for the handgun charge to be served concurrently.

Prosecutors moved to go ahead with formal sentencing and the defense did not object. The judge formally sentenced him to the terms discussed. Under that agreement, Hall will have no chance at parole.

Hamilton’s widow, father, mother and brother have signed documents confirming they accept the plea agreement. Some family members may make a statement in court during sentencing.

“Now, I will struggle with how to live without him. Hopefully with Gods grace for you, Scotty boy,” said Patricia Hamilton, the officer’s mother.

“Today was hard, but I’m glad that it’s over. And me and Brynlee, my daughter, can go on with our lives the best we can. That’s what Scotty would’ve wanted,” said Chelsi.