One of two men indicted in the 2013 beating death of a University of Kentucky chef pleaded guilty Friday.
Timothy Ballard pleaded guilty to kidnapping (victim not released alive) and tampering with evidence, said Assistant Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrea Williams.
Ballard and Robert Markham Taylor were indicted in 2014 in the death of Alex Johnson. Ballard told Lexington police that he saw Taylor beat Johnson to death on Dec. 20, 2013, the day Johnson disappeared.
Johnson’s body was found in January 2014 inside a barrel in four feet of water in the Kentucky River. Johnson, 32, was a chef at UK’s Hilary J. Boone Center.
Under a plea agreement, Williams recommended a 20-year sentence on the kidnapping and a five-year sentence on the tampering charge.
It will be up to Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark to determine whether the sentences should run consecutively, for a total of 25 years, or concurrently, for a total of 20 years, Williams said.
Clark scheduled sentencing for July 1. That will be after the two-week trial scheduled to start June 6 for Taylor.
A condition of the plea agreement is that Ballard must testify at the trial.