A Boyle County grand jury indicted Thomas Hager Jr. on four charges Tuesday in connection with a May 21 shooting in Danville that left two men dead and another wounded.
The grand jury charged Hager with two counts of murder and and one count each of first-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence.
Hager is accused of shooting to death Ted Sparks, 54, of Danville and Mark Snyder, 21, of Waynesburg at Sparks’ residence at 477 High St. The murder charges are capital offenses, meaning the death penalty is a possible punishment.
Hager also is accused of shooting Phillip White, 37, of Lancaster, who survived, and attempting to conceal evidence in the crimes.
According to police, Hager, 39, of Danville, confessed to shooting Sparks, Snyder, who was engaged to Sparks’ daughter, and White.
White, who has continued to recover from his injuries, told police he arrived at the home and saw Hager holding Sparks and Synder at gunpoint. White was shot while attempting to escape by jumping out a first-story window.
Police later located Hager at his duplex in the Village Apartments off Stanford Road.
A time has not been set for Hager’s arraignment in Boyle Circuit Court, but Commonwealth’s Attorney Richie Bottoms said it likely will be July 10.
Hager originally was represented by public defender Susanne McCollough, but according to her office, the case has been referred to Aaron Currin with the Capital Trials Branch of the Lexington Public Defender’s Office. Hager is being held without bond at the Boyle County Detention Center.
The murder cases are eligible for capital punishment, but Bottoms said it is too early to say whether he will pursue the death penalty. He said he needs to meet with members of the victims’ families, something he has yet to do, to make decisions about how to proceed.
Authorities have not released many details about the case since the days following the shootings, but affidavits filed earlier this month by Danville police to obtain search warrants for cell phones of both Hager and the victims reveal some of what Hager told law enforcement after his arrest.
According to the court documents, police obtained warrants for several of Hager’s cell phones, as well as phones found with Sparks and Snyder after they were killed. One of the affidavits states Hager told police about two different phones, including one used by Hager’s girlfriend Sammie Brown, but officers found a third phone he had not told them about during a search of his apartment.
Several of the documents make reference to statements Hager made about a phone call Sparks made to him prior to the shootings. Hager apparently told police the call was “in order to arrange a meeting between the two of them at Mr. Sparks’ residence in order to discuss a possible drug transaction.”
The affidavit for a warrant to search Snyder’s phone stated Hager told police Snyder was at Sparks’ home when he arrived May 21 and that Snyder “had been involved with both Hager and Mr. Sparks in drug transactions in the past.”
White told police he also placed a call to Sparks just before he arrived at 477 High St. According to the affidavit, Hager said he was in Sparks’ home with Sparks and Snyder when Sparks received a phone call that “seemed to be pertaining to a drug transaction.”
Hager said Sparks told the person on the phone to come to the residence, and a short time later White arrived. “This was just prior to the point where Mr. Sparks, Mr. Snyder and Mr. White were all shot,” the affidavit states.
The phones were sent to the Kentucky State Police Electronics Crime Branch for processing.
Police have said since the investigation began they believed the shootings were drug-related but have not elaborated on how drugs were involved, how the victims and Hager knew one another, or what led to the shootings.