An attempt to arraign brothers James Wesley Coffman and Eugene Shirley Coffman in Boyle District Court via videoconference from the jail was quickly abandoned Tuesday after it became clear the men would need help getting through the process.
After both brothers struggled to provide basic information, Trial Commissioner Adam Miller assigned the public defenders’ office to represent them and rescheduled their arraignment for 1:30 p.m. today in the district courtroom, where they will appear before Judge Jeff Dotson.
The Coffmans, both of whom have been described as mentally challenged, were arrested Thursday after an armed standoff with police at their Catholic Knob residence. The standoff lasted nearly six hours before officers launched pepper gas inside the home.
Wesley Coffman, 59, and Shirley Coffman, 47, are each charged with first-degree wanton endangerment and third-degree terroristic threatening. They are being held in the Boyle County Detention Center under $20,000 bonds.
Wesley Coffman was first called before the video camera at the jail and stuttered in a barely audible voice when Miller asked his name.
“I’m having a hard time hearing him, and he’s probably going to need counsel,” Miller said from the bench.
Shirley Coffman clearly stated his name but told Miller he was not sure of his birthdate. When Miller asked for an address, Shirley Coffman twice responded “Catholic Knob” instead of the specific road address Miller was seeking. The trial commissioner then decided it best if the brothers appeared in person in the courtroom with attorneys.
The trouble began Thursday morning when social workers went to 8050 Forkland Road for a welfare check on the brothers, who have lived alone in the home for several years. One of the brothers pulled out a pistol and told the social workers to leave, police said.
When officers arrived on the scene, one of the brothers allegedly brandished the pistol again and would not cooperate with police demands to come outside the residence. A Kentucky State Police special response team and armored vehicle were dispatched to the scene, and again, police said, one of the brothers waved a pistol and refused to come out, leading police to deploy pepper gas inside the home.