UK fraternity member pleads not guilty to officer assault

jhewlett@herald-leader.comMarch 11, 2010 

A fraternity member pleaded not guilty Thursday to third-degree assault for allegedly hitting a police officer and resisting arrest during an incident at the now-closed Sigma Alpha Epsilon house.

Joseph Henry McKinley III, who was a resident of the SAE house, was arraigned Thursday in Fayette District Court. McKinley, who is from Owensboro, is the son of U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr.

According to Fayette District Court records, University of Kentucky police found McKinley, 20, lying on a couch and pretending to be asleep Saturday in one of the rooms in the fraternity house as they were doing a room-to-room check because of a fire.

McKinley ignored the officers' request to go to the lobby of the fraternity house. McKinley suddenly said "f--- you" and began to swing his fist toward officers. One officer trying to arrest McKinley was struck in the face, according to court records.

McKinley paid 10 percent of a $5,200 bond and was released from jail.

Meanwhile, UK's fire marshal, Greg Williamson, has recommended that the fraternity house, the scene of an apparent prank involving fire early Saturday, be closed for the rest of this semester and through the next semester.

Investigators found "multiple fire violations" at the building after a fraternity member allegedly set fire to a friend who was wrapped in toilet paper, Williamson said.

More than 40 SAE fraternity members have been relocated. UK made dormitory rooms available to them.

Sean P. Dunn, 19, of Hebron was charged with first-degree arson, first-degree wanton endangerment and tampering with physical evidence after he allegedly struck a match, setting ablaze the toilet paper-wrapped victim. He also has pleaded not guilty.

According to court records, the victim was engulfed in flames up to his shoulders; he fell to the floor and began rolling to extinguish the flames. The floor caught fire, and Dunn tried to stomp out the flames.

Dunn had first-degree burns on his hands, according to court records. The person who was set on fire was not taken to a hospital, UK spokesman Jimmy Stanton said. He did not identify the victim, saying UK does not release that information in such circumstances.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service