gavel book 300HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (4/12/19) — A Hopkins Circuit Court jury deliberated two hours before reaching its decision 5:30 p.m. today related to a Nortonville man on trial for murder.

While the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office was seeking a murder conviction, the jury opted to find 23-year-old Jaleen Spivey guilty of reckless homicide in the Feb. 2, 2017 stabbing death of 25-year-old Alex Phebus.

Around 20 witnesses took the stand for the prosecution through this week, while a dozen caucasian jurors comprised of five women and seven men heard all the testimony.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Kathy Senter claimed Phebus was unarmed at the time Spivey stabbed him, which constituted murder. An empty prescription bottle containing suboxone pills belonging to Phebus was found at the scene that had been filled the day before his death. Senter also stated Spivey had sold Xanax to Phebus on several occasions, and she believed Phebus was not seeking any on that particular day.

Spivey also took the stand this week, claiming he was acting in self-defense after Phebus put him in a headlock and pulled his dreadlocks at the Arch Street property near a church on the night of Feb. 2, 2017 in Madisonville.

Public Defenders Amie Martinez and James Chamberlain called Spivey’s mother and step-father to the witness stand after the verdict was read. The parents said he had always been obedient and respectful toward them, and were shocked upon hearing about his arrest. The prosecution reminded the jury that Phebus was no longer alive and was killed in a senseless act of violence.

The jury deliberated approximately 30 additional minutes, returning with a recommendation that Spivey spend five years in the penitentiary. One-five years is the recommended sentence for the Class D felony of reckless homicide.

The defense asked Judge James Brantley to reduce Spivey’s bond of $500,000, while Senter disagreed with the motion. Spivey has served more than two years in jail following the 2017 stabbing, which could be determined as time served, depending on the judge's decision next month.

Brantley will review the bond reduction request Monday afternoon in Hopkins Circuit Court.

Brantley set final sentencing for Spivey 10:30 a.m. May 20.

SurfKY News

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