Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 18, 2013

Royster, 26, pleads guilty in 2008 killings

GREENUP — A Garrison man has pleaded guilty in the killings of two in 2008 and given police ammunition they needed to charge four others in the murders.

Mitchell Royster, 26, pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and two lesser charges Thursday in Greenup Circuit Court, almost four years after the deaths of Jeffrey Long, 45, and Pamela Wills, 21, in Long’s Leatherwood Road trailer.

Earlier in the day, sheriff’s deputies arrested four and charged them in the murders. They include Chrissie Bertram-Royster, 23, of Garrison, who is Royster’s wife; Sammy E. Bertram, 22; Willie Burns, 23, of Garrison; and Ashley N. Craft, 23, of Garrison. Bertram-Royster, Bertram and Burns face two charges of capital murder and one each of first-degree robbery, first-degree arson and tampering with physical evidence. Craft was charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery.

Royster originally had been charged with two counts of murder and one of arson. His plea bargain required him to cooperate with investigators and testify against the other four, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mel Leonhart said.

All the charges stem from the Feb. 23, 2008, blaze that killed Long and Wills. Police believe the killers set the trailer on fire to kill them.

The fire was so severe it destroyed most of the evidence at the scene, and police spent five years, almost to the eve of Royster’s Feb. 4 trial, investigating the murders.

Bertram-Royster, Bertram, Burns and Craft all were taken to the Greenup County Detention Center where they were being held without bond, according to Sheriff Keith Cooper.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com.

 or (606) 326-2652.

Text Only
Local News
  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ashland couple indicted on grave violation charges

     A man and a woman from Ashland have been indicted for allegedly stealing brass flower vases from graves at Rose Hill Burial Park.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Shore clerk gives updates on city building bids, sewer project

    City officials may not have to wait much longer to move from their temporary offices on Main Street into a shiny, new building.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fate of stray animals in Carter County questioned

    Stray animals in Carter County may be disappearing because no one seems to know exactly where they are going.

    April 22, 2014

  • Recovery center finds home

    The mayor of Grayson said he isn’t concerned about the money a new recovery center will funnel into the city, although he is deeply appreciative of what the proposed facility may be able to offer “people who really need help” recovering from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

    April 22, 2014

  • Olive Hill man charged with shooting wife during dispute

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.
    Robert Tackett, 47, of Olive Hill, was lodged in the Carter County Detention Center on Monday, charged with attempted murder-domestic violence, Kentucky State Police at Ashland said.

    April 22, 2014

  • Two of three Greenup commission seats on ballot

    Two of three commission seats are up for grabs in Greenup County this fall, and both will involve primary contests to determine the ballot lineup in the November election.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423attmurder_tackett.jpg Olive Hill man charged with attempted murder

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rotary updated on Alliance

    Ed Neely, president of the Ashland Rotary Club and chairman of the Ashland Alliance, addressed Rotarians in both capacities during the Monday meeting to give an update on the organization’s recent progress.

    April 21, 2014

  • Prater has been satisfying fans’ hunger for 40 years

    Debbie Prater has satisfied thousands of athletes’, parents’ and fans’ snacking desires for nearly 360 months.
    That’s just about 40 years of serving nachos, popcorn, chili dogs, water and soda from Lewis County’s football, basketball and baseball concession stands, and Prater is retiring after this year’s last pitch.

    April 21, 2014