LANCASTER — A man indicted Friday on a murder charge in the death of a Garrard County group-home resident initially told investigators that another intellectually disabled resident was responsible, Kentucky State Police said.
Tyler Brock, 21, of Corbin was indicted on one count of murder in the June 12 death of Shawn Akridge, who was beaten and kicked. Akridge was one of three residents of the home.
A second count of the indictment accuses Brock of knowingly abusing an adult, Akridge, who, "because of mental or physical dysfunction, was unable to manage his own resources, carry out the activity of daily living or protect himself from neglect, exploitation or abusive situations without assistance."
Brock was an employee of the group home near Paint Lick operated by Community Ties of America, a company based in Brentwood, Tenn., said trooper Chris Lanham, a spokesman for the state police post in Richmond, which investigated Akridge's death.
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Initially, Brock told a state police detective that another resident of the home, Chester Watkins, 32, had choked Akridge, Lanham said. Brock told police that he saw Watkins choking Akridge on the bathroom floor of the Wallacetown Road group home, Lanham said. That allegation prompted state police to charge Watkins with murder, and he was jailed.
But an autopsy revealed Akridge died of internal abdominal bleeding, not strangulation, and that prompted police to question Brock's story, Lanham said.
"Basically he lied to us," Lanham said. "He fingered the mentally retarded guy."
Watkins made his first appearance in Garrard District Court on June 20, and state police detectives Chris Short and Monte Owens asked District Judge Janet Booth to drop the charge against him. Booth did so.
Short is named on the indictment as the witness who testified before the grand jury that indicted Brock.
Murder is a Class A felony punishable by 20 to 50 years or life in prison. Knowingly abusing an adult is a Class C felony punishable by five to 10 years in prison.
State officials have moved residents out of the Paint Lick home. Community Ties of America notified the Cabinet for Health and Family Services that it no longer intends to offer residential services in Kentucky. The Paint Lick group home was considered a private provider of services, but it received state and federal funding.
Ron Lee, president of Community Ties, could not be reached for comment Friday.
Kentucky was the only state in which Community Ties operated group homes. But in Kentucky and five other states — Tennessee, Illinois, Florida, Georgia and Hawaii — the company provides support services to group homes, including behavior analysts, registered nurses and therapists, Lee told the Herald-Leader earlier this month.
Lee has said that those support services would continue in all six states.
Community Ties also operated two group homes in Waco in Madison County. A spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said earlier this month that residents were being moved from those facilities.
Meanwhile, Darlene Dedman of Harrodsburg has reported to officials that her brother, Timothy Smith, 49, was neglected as a resident of the Paint Lick group home. State officials removed Smith from the home; he now lives at a group home in Lexington.
It was not clear Friday whether Tyler Brock had been taken into custody. No one by that name was booked in the Lincoln County Detention Center in Stanford, where Garrard County inmates typically are held. The Web site for the Laurel County Correctional Center in London, near Brock's address in Cor bin, did not have anyone booked by that name, either.
Brock is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 18 before Garrard Circuit Judge Hunter Daugherty.