Grand jury to review charges against man accused of helping to kidnap UK chef

jwarren@herald-leader.comJanuary 29, 2014 

A Fayette County grand jury will review the case and charges against a Lexington man accused of aiding in the kidnapping of Alex Johnson, whose body was found Friday, a month after he went missing.

Timothy Curtis Ballard, 42, initially was charged with complicity to kidnapping and tampering with evidence. Ballard was in the courtroom for Wednesday's hearing for only a matter of seconds as District Judge T. Bruce Bell sent his case to the grand jury.

According to court documents, Ballard allegedly assisted in the unlawful restraint and transport of Johnson and disposed of evidence.

He was an acquaintance of Johnson, 32, who disappeared Dec. 20.

Johnson was a chef at the Kentucky Hilary J. Boone Center at the University of Kentucky. His body was found Friday, inside a 55-gallon barrel in about four feet of water in the Kentucky River.

Another man, Robert Markham Taylor, 28, of Lexington, has been charged with Johnson's murder. Taylor also faces drug charges in Pharr, Texas, where he was arrested last week. Taylor was about 8 miles from the Mexican border when he was apprehended.

The Fayette County sheriff's department is still working to have Taylor extradited back to Lexington.

Ballard has been in Lexington since he was released from prison about five years ago, according to the Kentucky Department of Corrections. He was released on parole Feb. 2, 2009, from Alabama after serving 17 years of a 25-year sentence for first-degree robbery.

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