Suspect said he shot Lexington high schooler, detective testifies

gkocher1@herald-leader.comJune 6, 2013 

A Lexington man told a witness and police that he shot and killed a Bryan Station High School football player after a struggle, a detective testified Thursday.

The same witness told police that Ernest Wayne Wheeler III, 20, met Patrick Puckett, 18, in a breezeway of an apartment building on Ryan Circle just before the shooting. The witness heard a shot, Detective Dawn Dunn testified Thursday. The witness was not identified.

After a preliminary hearing Thursday in Fayette District Court, Judge Megan Lake Thornton found probable cause to send the case against Wheeler to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Puckett died at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital after being found at the Ryan Circle building.

Wheeler turned himself in to Lexington police on May 24, two days after the shooting.

Two hours after the witness heard the shot, Wheeler told the witness that he had shot Puckett, Dunn said. Wheeler later admitted to police that he had shot Puckett, Dunn said.

Puckett played high school and amateur league basketball, but he was best known for his prowess on the football field. He was a starting linebacker for Bryan Station and had transferred to Henry Clay High School in the spring.

According to Wheeler's Facebook page, he had attended Bryan Station High School and Henry Clay High School.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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