Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 17, 2013

Greenup. man charged with judge threat claims insanity

LOUISVILLE — A northeastern Kentucky man described by officials as "very cold" plans to use an insanity defense in response to charges he threatened to kill the federal judge and attorneys involved a child pornography case that landed his father in federal prison.

By filing an insanity defense on behalf of 18-year-old Michael Alexander Collins, defense attorney Willis Coffey is claiming his client is not responsible for his actions due to mental health problems.

Coffey filed a notice of defense Tuesday in federal court, a day after Collins made his initial appearance in federal court. Coffey declined to elaborate on the case beyond what has been filed in court.

U.S. Marshals in Lexington arrested Collins of Greenup County on Friday. Deputy Marshal Rick Kelley wrote in an affidavit that Collins plotted to shoot judge David Bunning and others because they handled the case of his father, who pleaded guilty to a charge of receiving child pornography.

Kelley wrote that Collins never carried out an attack, which he discussed with people at the Appalachian Challenge Academy, a school in Harlan designed for 16- to 18-year-olds who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Hanley Ingram ordered Collins detained by the U.S. Marshals. Collins was hospitalized from mid-December through Monday.

No one responded immediately to an email sent to the Appalachian Challenge Academy on Wednesday morning. A message left for U.S. Marshal Loren "Squirrel" Carl in Lexington was not immediately returned.

The case grew out of a call made in December by the Greenup County Attorney's office to federal officials. Collins told a residential counselor at the school that upon graduation, he planned to buy a gun and "kill everyone" involved in the prosecution and imprisonment of his father, 53-year-old John Nelson Collins.

The elder Collins is serving an 11-year sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to a federal charge of receipt of child pornography. He is currently in the federal prison camp in Beaumont, Texas.

Bunning and U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Atkins of Ashland, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Denny and defense attorney Michael J. Curtis of Ashland all handled John Collins' case.

The counselor, who is not identified in the complaint, told investigators that Collins wanted to use three people and had been practicing with friends by firing from an elevated position with different rifles, Kelley wrote. The counselor described Collins as "very cold, calm and did not listen to reason" during their conversation.

"When Collins was told that he would likely be gunned down by law enforcement, he stated he did not care," Kelley wrote.

The counselor's allegations were backed up by a recruiter for the academy, Kelley wrote. The arrest of Collins was delayed at the request of prosecutors, who opted to leave Collins in a treatment center in Hazard after Kelley wrote the complaint.

"Collins is still dangerous, and the government intends to follow through with prosecution upon his release from involuntary commitment," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Spencer McKinnis.


Text Only
Local News
  • newwendy1.jpg Ashland woman develops pregnancy journals for mom, dad

    An Ashland woman has a way of helping parents everywhere.
    Wendy Sparks, 47, wrote The journals, which are for parents to keep for themselves and their children during pregnancy.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420eggs0051.jpg Acres and acres of eggs

    A dozen volunteers spent the morning Saturday scattering more than 6,000 plastic eggs around the Greenup County Farm Bureau’s 10-acre field Saturday morning.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Volunteers to pack thousands of meals for hungry Haitians

    Members of the First Baptist Church in Grayson are planning for the third year in a row to pack thousands of meals for starving people in Haiti, and they need help to do it.

    April 19, 2014

  • Sheriff candidates ready for election

    With no incumbent in the Boyd County Sheriff’s race, Republican and Democrat candidates for the post will square off in their respective primaries next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • 0419sciencehs.JPG Russell High School wins State Science Olympiad

    The long ride home from Bowling Green was tinged with disappointment for Russell High School students who believed they’d finished as also-rans in the state Science Olympiad last weekend.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419sciencems.JPG Russell Middle School state Science Olympiad champions

    From identifying hundreds of insects to designing and operating mechanical contraptions that just look like insects, a team of Russell Middle School students took their research and technical skills to the Science Olympiad in Bowling Green last week and came back state champions.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419melodies0148.jpg Kitchen jazzes up downtown lunch hour

    Some came to enjoy the relaxing sounds of cool jazz and traditional tunes at lunch, while others attended in hopes of picking up a few tricks from a master musician as guitarist Chris Kitchen kicked off the Melodies & Masterpieces concert series in downtown Ashland Friday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sparks, Waddell in Carter Coronor’s race

    Incumbent George A. Sparks of Grayson will face challenger William Waddell of Olive Hill in the Democratic primary election for the Carter County coroner’s seat.

    April 18, 2014

  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo