Two more men charged in alleged murder-for-hire plot in McCreary County

jkegley@herald-leader.comFebruary 13, 2013 

Kentucky State Police charged the two remaining suspects Tuesday in an alleged murder-for-hire plot in McCreary County last week.

Antonio A. Turner, 21, and Joseph Denning, 19, both of Somerset, were charged with conspiracy to commit murder, complicity to commit robbery and unlawful imprisonment, according to a news release from the state police post in London.

Last week, police arrested Timothy Prater, 30, on the same charges and said more arrests were pending. Prater also was charged with impersonating a police officer because he identified himself as an FBI agent during the attack, state police spokesman Trooper Don Trosper said.

Police said they think Regina Stephens of Pine Knot in McCreary County hired Turner, Denning and Prater to kill the victim, another woman from Pine Knot.

Dressed in black military-style fatigues and armed with a stun gun and a pistol, the three men reportedly handcuffed and assaulted the victim outside her home on Richard Stevens Road early on Feb. 7.

McCreary County sheriff Gus Skinner identified the victim as Debbie Taylor. Skinner said police were not aware of a motive.

Stephens was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound a day after the attack at her home on Ky. 92 in Pine Knot. Her body was discovered by state police and a sheriff's deputy attempting to arrest her.

State police credited Taylor's neighbors with saving her life. The neighbors heard a commotion outside and interrupted the attack, eventually chasing the men off. Taylor was not seriously hurt.

A description of the vehicle led police to Prater, Trosper has said. The other arrests and the discovery of Stephens' body followed.

Prater, Turner and Denning were being held in the Laurel County jail.

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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