Fayette County

Former SAE president won't go to jail after pleading guilty to assault

A former president of the University of Kentucky Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity will serve no jail time on an assault conviction if he stays out of legal trouble for the next two years.

Joseph Henry McKinley III, 21, pleaded guilty last month to fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, as part of a plea deal.

In March, McKinley had been charged with third-degree assault for allegedly hitting a UK police officer and resisting arrest during an evacuation of the SAE house at 410 Rose Lane after an apparent prank there went wrong. He later was indicted by a grand jury.

Prosecutors recommended the assault charge be amended down and the resisting arrest charge be dismissed. They recommended McKinley receive 12 months in jail.

Fayette Circuit Court Judge Thomas Clark sentenced McKinley to 12 months in jail, but conditionally discharged him for two years, according to court records. Unlike regular probation, a conditional discharge does not include supervision by authorities.

McKinley, who is from Owensboro, is the son of U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr.

Meanwhile, a pre-trial conference has been set for Sept. 22 in Fayette District Court in the case of Sean Patrick Dunn, 20, of Hebron, who is charged with second-degree wanton endangerment and third-degree criminal mischief, both misdemeanors, in connection with the apparent prank.

Dunn, who initially faced more serious charges — first-degree arson, first-degree wanton endangerment and tampering with physical evidence — is accused of setting on fire fraternity brother John Pelosi, who was wrapped in toilet paper, and causing damage to the fraternity house.

After the incident, UK's Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity was suspended for alleged hazing, and the chapter's charter was revoked.

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