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By Forrest Berkshire
Landmark News Service
Three men were indicted recently for beating a 62-year-old man in the Huddle House parking lot in Nelson County last month.
Deandre L. Douglas, 20, of Lebanon, Darrian D. Ellery, 19, and Martin R. Barber, 23, both of Bardstown, were each indicted for one count of second-degree assault and one count of second-degree complicity to assault.
As of Friday, according to a Bardstown Police press release, the warrants had not been served. Saturday morning, Nelson County jail records showed the men were not in custody.
Bardstown Police outlined the accusations against the men in a press release sent out late Friday.
In the release, police say 62-year-old Joseph Hagan, of New Haven, was assaulted Nov. 24 around 1:30 a.m. at the restaurant located at 1478 E. John Rowan Blvd. in Bardstown.
The beating was apparently the result of an argument inside the restaurant between Hagan and at least one of the suspects, according to the release.
Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin said Saturday there are still some questions about the case.
“We’re not sure exactly what words were exchanged,” he said. “There’s obviously two sides to every story. But that’s beside the point.”
McCubbin said police presented the evidence to the grand jury because of the amount of time that had passed from the initial assault to when police had gathered enough evidence to make a case.
“We didn’t get a lot of cooperation,” he said.
He said the officer who worked the case had only a first name to go by right after the incident.
“He never let off of it, though,” McCubbin said.
“We always try to think of the victim first,” McCubbin said, but it took police some time to investigate the incident. McCubbin said some members of the public had expressed frustration with the pace of the investigation, but police wanted to have all their facts in order.
“We wanted a good, solid case,” he said.
According to Friday’s press release, following an initial exchange with the suspects, Hagan left the restaurant and the argument continued, ultimately escalating to physical violence.
The release goes on to say after the initial attack, the group attacked Hagan a second time. During that second attack, at least one bystander tried to intervene and stop the beating.
Police say video surveillance shows Hagan being hit and kicked repeatedly while he was on the ground.
The attackers fled the restaurant in a maroon Chevy Suburban.
When police arrived, they found Hagan with numerous injuries to his face and body. He was transported to Flaget Hospital and then on to University Hospital in Louisville.
Bardstown Police’s press release stated investigators were able to identify at least one of the suspects after the assault. They were then able to develop information regarding the other two men. A witness later identified the men and said they were the ones kicking Hagan while he was on the ground.
While the trio had apparently not been arrested as of Saturday morning, Nelson County Jail records showed two of them had been arrested last year.
McCubbin said police are not sure if the same men are associated with some similar incidents involving beatings in recent weeks near the Dairy Queen and a Thompson’s carry out. He said police are aware of a group going by the name Bardstown Money Gang that people have told police are involved with those incidents.
Records showed Ellery was arrested Aug. 5, 2011, for third-degree complicity to burglary, and Barber was arrested for second-degree disorderly conduct April 11, 2011.
The men’s names also appear throughout area newspapers in connection to run-ins with the law. The Standard’s archives listed Barber as being cited for criminal trespassing, for which he was fined $213. According to The Lebanon Enterprise, Douglas was indicted in June for first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, less than four grams. Also according to that newspaper, Douglas was sentenced to 365 days in jail and received five years probation for second-degree assault.
Police say the investigation is continuing and ask anyone with information regarding the assault to contact them by calling 348-6811.
Editor’s note: The indictment of a person by a grand jury is an accusation only, and that person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Forrest Berkshire is the editor of The Kentucky Standard.