A judge is mulling a motion that could exclude the death penalty from one of the suspects in a fatal home invasion in December.
Another pending motion seeks to have the trials of Percy Hargrove III¿and his ex-girlfriend Sheena Tipton split, so they would be tried separately for their alleged roles in the killing of Andrew David Ingram near his Winchester home on Dec. 14, 2011.
Hargrove, 26, of Georgetown, is charged with murder and first-degree burglary for allegedly forcing his way into Ingram’s home on Whitney Court and then shooting him behind a neighboring home. Tipton, 26, of Clay City, is charged with complicity to commit murder and complicity to commit first-degree burglary for allegedly drawing a detailed floor plan of Ingram’s home for Hargrove’s use.
Tipton’s attorney Jim Cox argued Thursday in Clark Circuit Court that she shouldn’t be facing the death penalty since she was not in Clark County at the time of the incident and was not involved in the commission of any crime. Cox said the only evidence of her involvement was the diagram and a statement from a former cellmate in the Clark County Detention Center, who told police that Tipton said she coerced Hargrove into coming to Winchester and seeing Ingram.
According to police, the map was drawn on the back of medical records for Tipton’s and Hargrove’s child. The map was found inside Hargrove’s car by Georgetown police.
At the time of his death, Tipton was Ingram’s girlfriend, police said. During her interviews, Tipton told police that Ingram had threatened her life and she made the diagram for Hargrove so he could talk to Ingram.
According to testimony during a preliminary hearing, Tipton’s former cellmate told police that Tipton spoke freely about threatening to withhold their child from Hargrove unless he went to Winchester and did something with Ingram. The cellmate also related that Tipton spoke of warning Hargrove to dispose of the gun and not to implicate her.
“She certainly couldn’t be subjected to the death penalty,” Cox said, while questioning why the person who was in the car with Hargrove hasn’t been charged with anything.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Charles Johnson said Tipton played a key role, which may have been motivated by “revenge.”
“The evidence will be that she enticed the shooter ... to come to Clark County,” Johnson said. “We believe she had these children. The victim has supposedly created some domestic problems with her. Ms. Tipton was going to use the children as leverage” against Hargrove.
The other person in the car, who was not identified, has not been charged because he did not participate in any crimes in Clark County, Johnson said.
“This person did come to Clark County with the shooter,” Johnson said. “When he discovered there was a gun involved, he ran. He drove to Georgetown and went to the police.”
Cox also cited the disparity of roles in the commission of the homicide as grounds for his motion for Hargrove and Tipton to be tried separately. A trial date has not been set, but he said they should not be tried together.
“I just feel at this time it would be grossly unfair, especially if you exclude the death penalty,” Cox told Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue.
Johnson and Hargrove’s attorneys both said the facts in both cases are so intertwined that it would be difficult to separate the two cases.
Logue said she would rule on both motions in the near future.
Hargrove and Tipton remain in the Clark County Detention Center.
Contact Fred Petke at firstname.lastname@example.org.