Fayette County

Judge denies change of venue for man accused of killing police officer

Glenn Doneghy
Glenn Doneghy

A Fayette Circuit Court judge on Tuesday denied a motion to move the trial of Glenn Doneghy, accused of murder in the death last year of Lexington police officer Bryan Durman.

Defense attorneys Kate Dunn, Gayle Slaughter and Sally Wasielewski wanted the trial, which is set to start June 13 in Lexington, moved to Jefferson County. They maintain that Doneghy can't get a fair trial in Fayette or surrounding counties because of extensive pre-trial publicity in the case.

"It's enormous and it's continuous," Dunn said of publicity about the case.

Judge James Ishmael said the court's first duty is to see whether it can seat a fair jury in Fayette County.

"If we can't find a fair jury when we get to the trial, then we'll discuss other options," he said.

Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said several other local criminal cases had received as much publicity but weren't moved.

"The best test to select a jury is to try to select a jury," he said.

Doneghy, 34, is accused of deliberately striking Durman with his vehicle as Durman was investigating a noise complaint on North Limestone on April 29, 2010. Durman, 27, was pronounced dead at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital a short time later.

Besides the change-of-venue ruling on Tuesday, Ishmael made other rulings.

He overruled a defense motion for separate trials on charges against Doneghy connected with the collision in which Durman was killed and charges against Doneghy connected with his arrest.

Dunn said she didn't think the two scenes — North Limestone where Durman was struck and the apartment building where Doneghy was arrested several hours later — could be tied together. No witness can say Doneghy was driving the vehicle that struck Durman, Dunn said.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Lori Boling said the events of the night should be treated as one incident.

Ishmael also ruled Durman may be referred to as the "victim" by witnesses at the trial. He said the jury will decide whether Durman was a victim of criminal conduct, but Durman was certainly a victim in that he was struck by a vehicle.

The judge ruled that calling the Limestone location where Durman was struck a "crime scene" would not be allowed.

Several issues remain that Ishmael has not ruled on, including whether toxicology test results on samples of Doneghy's blood and urine can be used at the trial. The samples were taken nearly seven hours after Durman was struck — too late to be pertinent, according to the defense attorneys.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader