Police say they think a dispute during a drug deal prompted the killing of a Lexington man who was described by his friends and family as a talented carpenter and a dedicated caretaker of his aging grandmother.
After Joseph Randolph, 48, had been shot multiple times, the shooter and another teen stole marijuana and fled from his house, Detective Reid Bowles testified Friday.
Those and other details were revealed at a preliminary hearing for Allen Charles Burgess, 19. Burgess is charged with complicity to commit murder.
An acquaintance of Burgess's, Quante Jarod Johnson, 18, is accused of pulling the trigger. He was charged with murder after admitting to police he shot Randolph, Bowles said.
Police say they think Burgess and Johnson were both inside Randolph's home when the shooting occurred and that Burgess "did nothing to intercede" in Randolph's killing. It was the city's first homicide of the year.
"Mr. Johnson advised he was the subject that shot and killed Mr. Randolph," Bowles said. "Mr. Johnson also advised ... Mr. Burgess had transported him to the residence for the purpose of a narcotics transaction."
During his confession, Johnson denied Burgess had anything to do with the killing and later changed his story, saying Burgess was not at the home, Bowles said.
Burgess denied being anywhere near the scene and said he knew Johnson only from playing football with him and seeing him around the Winburn neighborhood. However, police charged Burgess after determining his cell phone transmitted data from a tower that was near the scene of the shooting, Bowles said.
Bowles did not specify whether the teens intended to buy or sell marijuana, but he said Burgess and Johnson fled from the house "with property belonging to the victim." When questioned by Burgess's attorney, Bowles said that property was marijuana.
Johnson told police he shot Randolph because Randolph attempted to rob him, Bowles said.
Fayette County District Court Judge Julie Ann Goodman sent Burgess's case to the grand jury after hearing about eight minutes of testimony from Bowles. Johnson's case was sent to the grand jury last month.
The case was sent to the grand jury despite arguments from Burgess's attorney, Public Defender Chris Tracy, that Burgess had nothing to do with the killing.
"There is no evidence that Mr. Burgess had any reason to know this was going to happen, expect it to happen, intend it to happen or want it to happen," Tracy said. "I think at best he was there, and at best this is a facilitation to murder."
A facilitation to murder charge carries a lighter penalty than complicity to murder. Complicity to murder carries the same penalty as murder — 20 years to life in prison.
Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.