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20-year sentence imposed for jury verdict of drug trafficking; ; 15-year sentence set in child sexual abuse case

Commonwealth’s Attorney
Press release

STANFORD — Eddy F. Montgomery, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Lincoln, Pulaski, and Rockcastle Counties announces that a Kentucky State Police investigation into the sexual abuse of a Lincoln County child has resulted in a pair of convictions – which were two of multiple cases resolved in Lincoln County Criminal Motion Hour (Division 1) for July 2019.

Christopher Alexander Pope, 29, of Danville was sentenced to 20 years in prison following a jury verdict of guilty for first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and first-degree felony offender.

According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David L. Dalton, the trial attorney for the Commonwealth, on September 1, 2018 an investigation by the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office determined that Pope sold over 2.5 grams of a substance containing heroin and fentanyl for $290 to a confidential informant with the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office. Pope had instructed the deal occur at the Arby’s in Stanford. Pope was convicted last month following 8 minutes of deliberation by a Lincoln County Jury.

Gary Cody Merrell, 30, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree Sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse and Heather Lynn Murphy, 28, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for complicity to first-degree sexual abuse at a hearing in Lincoln Circuit Court.

According to Dalton, an investigation by the KSP determined that Merrell (from 2014-2015) engaged in deviant sexual intercourse and inappropriate sexual touching of Murphy’s minor child. Murphy and Merrell were in a relationship at the time of the offense. Murphy and Merrell fled the jurisdiction after the allegations were made. Previously, Merrell admitted to the Sodomy and sexual abuse in open court. Murphy previously stated in court that she failed to report the abuse and was – in fact – aware of it. The case was investigated and indicted in late 2018 after conclusion of the KSP investigation. Dalton stated that Merrell would be a lifetime registrant on the sex offender registry and Murphy a 20 year registrant.

Five other cases were also resolved in Lincoln County Criminal Motion Hour (Division 1) for July 2019.

Matthew E. Hume, 31, of Lancaster was sentenced to 5 years in prison for first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance. According to Dalton, an investigation by the Stanford Police Department found Hume in the driver seat of a silver Dodge in the Walmart parking lot in August 2018. While searching the vehicle, officers found over 2 grams of methamphetamine and other items associated with the sale of narcotics. Hume had previously pled guilty to this charge.

Erik Ray Coffey, 40, of Hustonville pled guilty to possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. According to Dalton, in December 2017, deputies with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office stopped a vehicle being driven by Coffey on KY 698. Deputies found Coffey armed with a .45 caliber handgun. Coffey had a previous felony conviction at the time of possessing the gun. Dalton stated he would recommend 5 years in prison. Sentencing was set for 8/6/19.

Gregory W. Delk, 50, of Hustonville pled guilty to 2nd Degree Burglary. According to Dalton, an investigation by the LCSO determined that in December 2018, Delk forced his way into a neighbor’s home and assaulted him. The victim’s family and an off-duty officer intervened and held Delk until the LCSO arrived. Dalton stated he would recommend 5 years in prison for the burglary charge. Sentencing was set for 8/6/19.

Devin B. Snow, 22, of Hustonville pled guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for 1 count of second-degree assault, 1 count of first-degree bail jumping, 2 counts of first-degree fleeing or evading police and 1 count of first-degree wanton endangerment. According to Dalton, Snow’s legal issues began in November 2017 when Snow led the Kentucky State Police on a high speed chase and foot pursuit – stretching from Cemetery Road to Pond School Road. On January 11, 2019, Snow failed to appear for court in relation to his previous felony case. Finally, later in January 2019, Snow admitted in Court to assaulting his girlfriend with a propane tank and fleeing the police on foot from that scene. Dalton thanked the KSP and the LCSO for their efforts on these cases.
Christian Lynn Stubbs, 38, of Stanford was sentenced to 2 years in prison for the offense of first-degree possession of a controlled substance. According to Dalton, in June 2018, the LCSO found Stubbs to be in possession of a quantity of methamphetamine found during a traffic stop on US 150. Dalton stated that Stubbs had been on pretrial diversion for offense but that he absconded from supervision.