Lexington's first homicide victim of 2012 identified

A Lexington man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the Jan. 1 shooting death of a woman who was known to police as a prostitute.

Gambino August, 44, is charged with murder in the death of Natalie K. Liles, 30.

The shooting happened about five hours after midnight Sunday. Police were called to the Continental Square Apartments off Eastland Parkway after neighbors reported hearing gunshots.

Liles was found inside one of the apartments. She was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where she died.

Judge Megan Lake Thornton entered a not-guilty plea on August's behalf Tuesday. Thornton also appointed August a public defender.

August is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing Jan. 13. He is being held at the Fayette County jail without bond.

According to court records, August was an acquaintance of Liles. They both lived in the complex where the shooting occurred.

A motive for the shooting was not clear Tuesday. Police reports said only that August "showed extreme indifference to human life when he shot a handgun at the victim."

August's criminal record in Lexington consists of two traffic cases and one count of contempt of court. Liles had been accused of 10 misdemeanors since 2002, including loitering, alcohol intoxication, possession of marijuana and several counts of shoplifting.

Liles was arrested and pleaded guilty last year to a prostitution charge, according to court documents.

Police officers saw Liles, a “known prostitute,” flag down and enter a pickup truck with Louisiana license plates at Seventh Street and Maple Avenue, according to a uniform citation filed in Fayette District Court. Police stopped the truck several blocks away.

"The driver stated that he had picked her up for (sex)," the document said.

She pleaded guilty to loitering for prostitution purposes June 3.