A man killed his estranged wife’s father and critically wounded her and another woman in a shooting that apparently resulted from a domestic dispute, according to the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office.
The man charged in the shooting, 36-year-old Michael Paul Collier, had filed for divorce from his wife on Jan. 6 and asked for sole custody of their 5-year-old son, citing concerns that his wife’s boyfriend had ties to drugs and had been abusive to Collier’s son, according to a court motion.
A hearing on the custody motion was scheduled Monday. However, Collier’s estranged wife, Jessica Lynn Collier, had not yet been served with court papers, so the hearing was postponed, said Michael Collier’s attorney, Stephen W. Cessna.
Police arrested Michael Collier after going to a house on Huff Road, about 5 miles north of London, at 12:20 a.m. Tuesday to investigate a report that a woman had been shot, according to a news release from Sheriff John Root.
Officers found the man who lived at the house, Gordon Browning, dead. Browning, who was in his 50s, had been shot several times, police said.
Browning was Jessica Lynn Collier’s father. He was shot in his pickup truck, said Deputy Gilbert Acciardo, spokesman for Laurel County Sheriff John Root.
Deputies also found Jessica Lynn Collier, 29, of Morris Road in London, and Amy Lyons, 29, of Harrogate, Tenn., with multiple gunshot wounds. The two women also were shot outside the house, according to an arrest citation.
Both were listed in critical condition Tuesday after being flown to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, according to Root’s office.
Lyons was reportedly Browning’s girlfriend.
Michael Paul Collier, of Morris Road in Laurel County, was still at the scene when officers arrived. Police arrested him on a charge of murder and two charges of first-degree assault.
Police also charged him with wanton endangerment because his 5-year-son was in the house when the shootings occurred, according to a news release.
Police charged Kathy Gail Middleton, 35, of Bowling Ridge Road — who is reportedly Collier’s girlfriend — with tampering with evidence. Middleton left the scene with the pistol used in the shooting, according to her arrest citation.
Officers went to Middleton’s home and found the murder weapon there, the citation said.
Collier, an employee of Jackson Propane Plus, said in his divorce petition that he and Jessica Collier married in 2007 in Louisiana and separated in November.
Since then, she had been spending time with a man “who it is believed has contacts in the world of illegal use and distribution of illegal substances,” according to the motion Cessna submitted for Michael Collier.
The couple’s son also said Jessica Collier’s boyfriend had been abusive to him, the motion said.
Michael Collier sought sole custody with a requirement that any visitation for his wife with their son be supervised.
“Absolutely he was concerned about his child,” Cessna said Tuesday.
Cessna said Jessica Collier did not have an attorney listed in the case.