Murder charge filed in beating death of 87-year-old man in Lexington

jmadden@herald-leader.comJuly 23, 2014 

Cory Don Etherington

Lexington police charged a man with murder Wednesday in the beating death of an 87-year-old man earlier this month.

Cory Don Etherington, 32, was already being held in the Fayette County jail on unrelated charges when he was charged with murder Wednesday afternoon.

John Tully was found about 5:30 p.m. July 11 in a breezeway at the Old Farm Apartments on Appian Way, where he lived.

Tully was rushed to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he died of blunt-force trauma on the morning of July 13, according to the Fayette County coroner's office. He was beaten in the head and upper torso, police said.

Police arrested Etherington July 12 at a home in the 2000 block of Harrodsburg Road for violating the conditions of his probation stemming from two different incidents in which he assaulted his grandmother and a corrections officer in 2013, according to circuit court documents.

On Feb. 18, 2013, police were called to the same home on Harrodsburg Road after a report of a man assaulting his grandmother. When police arrived, the woman was bleeding from her left eye and told police she had been hit with a "closed fist."

Etherington was shot with a Taser and taken to the Fayette County Detention Center after he repeatedly approached police in the driveway with a closed fist saying "shoot me in the head," the documents said.

During the confrontation with police, Etherington told police that voices in his head told him to punch his grandmother in the eye. He was charged with second-degree assault, third-degree assault and menacing.

Both of Etherington's charges were amended to fourth-degree assault — one for assaulting his grandmother and another for hitting the corrections officer at the jail — and the menacing charge was dismissed, but he served about six months in jail and was given two years probation. Conditions of his probation were to enter and successfully complete a domestic violence program, comply with medical treatment and report and follow directions given to him by his probation officer.

However, according to documents, Etherington informed his probation officer by phone on April 15, a day when he was scheduled to be in court, that he was in Florida and would not be able to make his court appearance because he had bought a Greyhound bus ticket to West Palm Beach, Fla. April 3 and needed to "get away."

Etherington was not given permission to leave Kentucky and told his probation officer that he wouldn't be able to return until May 3 after he received his disability payment.

Etherington was out of touch with officials until police arrested him on July 12 in Lexington.

The beating death of Tully was the city's 12th homicide in less than a month and the only victim who hadn't been killed with a gun. There are five homicides still unsolved.

Police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts did not provide information on a motive for the beating or how Tully suffered his injuries. There was no indication that Tully was robbed, she said. Roberts said more information might be available later in court documents. Etherington and Tully are not related, she said.

Justin Madden: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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