ASHLAND Twenty-four-year-old Jacob Lane of Franklin Furnace could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder, according to Boyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Justice.
Lane is accused of killing Justin Reeder, 21, of Ashland, on Oct. 16. By state law, murder cases are death-penalty eligible if the capital offense was committed during the attempt of a specified felony, such as robbery, kidnapping or rape.
A Boyd County grand jury indicted Lane on Tuesday morning on first-degree robbery and second-degree burglary charges in addition to murder, Justice said. Lane, jailed in the Boyd County Detention Center, pleaded not guilty to murder last week in Boyd County Circuit Court.
Reeder was found dead in Lawrence County, Ohio on Oct. 24, a week after he was reported missing.
Over the course of the search for Reeder, Lane was questioned by the Ashland Police Department after phone records and additional evidence pointed toward Lane as a suspect, according to Chief Todd Kelley. Lane initially denied involvement, but later admitted to police he shot Reeder in the head on Oct. 16 in the 1100 block of 29th Street in Ashland. Lane also told police the man's body was hidden along Tunnel Ridge Road near Ironton.
Reeder's parents told police Lane had broken into their home a few days after Reeder’s disappearance “in an attempt to steal money and narcotics," according to Kelley.
The police chief announced on Tuesday an arrest warrant was issued for Zachery Tarleton, of Ironton, who allegedly provided Lane with a weapon.
Tarleton, 24, is awaiting extradition from Lawrence County Jail to the Boyd County Detention Center on a first-degree criminal conspiracy to commit robbery charge. Tarleton provided the gun to Lane, Kelley said, during Lane’s attempted robbery of Reeder.
Lane was not originally charged with robbery. Kelley announced the warrant issuance for Tarleton during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, and did not take questions from reporters, citing the ongoing investigation.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police, the Lawrence County Coroner's office and Justice’s office were among the agencies that have assisted Ashland police.
Lane’s next court appearance has not been scheduled, according to the online courts system.
An online petition created anonymously on change.org titled “Death Penalty for Jacob Lane” has circulated since last week and accrued over 345 signatures. The author of the petition suggests Lane “doesn’t deserve his life” and the petition will be delivered to Gov. Matt Bevin and Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Justice said the death penalty eligible case is the first such case in Boyd County in more than 10 years. Kentucky has carried out three executions of death row inmates since 1976.
Lane is represented by attorney Mark Hardy. Circuit Judge Gerald Reams declared last week Lane’s bond remains $100,000.
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