Three University of Kentucky freshmen charged with robbery in an allegedly deadly scheme appeared in Fayette District Court on Friday. But it was the two men who didn’t appear that matter most to Teresa Sowards.
“My heart is broken,” Sowards, the mother of James Gordon, told the court . Gordon, a 28-year-old veteran, died of a gunshot wound April 9, killed by the man Gordon and the students intended to rob when they gathered for a fake drug buy on Woodland Avenue near campus, according to court records.
The target of the robbery hasn’t been named by police, but he claims to have shot Gordon and one of the students in self-defense, according to court documents.
Sowards wants him charged with a crime. Police said Friday afternoon that charges haven’t been ruled out.
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Sowards told District Judge Julie Muth Goodman prosecutors have kept her in the dark.
At different points during Friday’s hearing, which featured appearances from all three students, Sowards rocked in her seat and cried.
“My son was more than just an addict,” she told Goodman. Gordon was the youngest of five sons. He had been studying radiology but dropped out because of complications with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, she said.
Gordon, originally from Elizabethtown, was in the National Guard and served a year and 100 days in Iraq, she said. Before his death, Gordon was living in Lexington and was getting treatment at the Lexington Veteran Affairs Medical Center for more than a year, she said. He had a service dog, Rambo.
“My son did not come back from Iraq,” she told the court.
Her son’s alleged partners in the robbery plot, Alex P. Ferrell, 19, Nicholas V. Coriaci, 18, and Jaydon B. Whalen, 19, waived their charges to a grand jury for review during Friday’s hearing. .
Besides Gordon, Coriaci was shot in the shoulder, police have said.
Whalen, the only student still in jail, was released to his father’s custody by Goodman with conditions. Goodman noted that Whalen had unresolved charges in Boone County for marijuana possession and concealed carry of a deadly weapon.
Under his release, Whalen will be allowed to live and travel only with his father, who was present at the hearing, and not “have buddies over to visit” or have any contact with his co-defendants.
Sowards told Goodman she plans to be at as many court appearances for the men as she can, to represent her son.
“He no longer has a voice,” she told the court, stifling tears.