Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Charges won't be pursued in groin shooting

By Jim Hannah,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Prosecutors will not refile charges against Jaymie Hutchins, the 40-year-old Covington mother who shot in the groin a man accused of child molestation.

        “We decided not to re-present to case to a grand jury since no new evidence has been uncovered,” said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney David Schuler of Louisville. “That is our office's policy.”

        He was assigned the case because officials said it would be a conflict of interest for the local prosecutor to handle both the Hutchins case and the molestation case.

        In Kentucky, a case can be presented to a grand jury as many times as a prosecutor wants. On March 1, a Kenton County grand jury declined to indict Mrs. Hutchins on a first-degree assault charge.

        Prosecutors were two votes short of getting the nine votes needed for the 12-member grand jury to indict Mrs. Hutchins on a charge of first-degree assault under extreme emotional duress.

        The grand jury was given two options. It could have indicted Mrs. Hutchins on the first-degree assault charge with a punishment upon conviction of 10 to 20 years in prison. Or, on the same charge, it could have found she acted under extreme emotional duress, which reduces the penalty to one to five years.

        Mrs. Hutchins couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday and her attorney, Harry Hellings of Covington, did not return phone calls.

        On March 15, the same grand jury that declined to indict Mrs. Hutchins returned a 49-count indictment against the man she shot.

        Former carnival worker Larry Eugene Howell, 41, of Erlanger, was indicted on 32 counts of sodomy (second- and third-degree), 10 counts of using a male minor in a sexual performance, five counts of unlawful transaction with a minor, one count of trafficking marijuana within 1,000 yards of a school and one count of possession of child pornography.

        Prosecutors have said the charges covered abuse involving eight or nine children, but that many more were interviewed by investigators. But prosecutors say none of the charges are for molesting Mrs. Hutchins' son.

        Mr. Howell is being held in an isolation cell under tightened security on $250,000 cash bail in the Kenton County Detention Center. His attorney, public defender Michael Williams, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

        During a recent jail-house interview with the Enquirer, Mr. Howell said he didn't feel he could get a fair trial in Kenton County.


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