Three, including 2 UK students, charged in kidnapping, robbery in home

Ethan Hatfield
Ethan Hatfield

Two University of Kentucky students pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that they kidnapped, robbed and assaulted a man at a house near the Hartland Estates neighborhood in Lexington.

Also Thursday, a third man was arrested in connection with the incident, which Lexington police said “stems from an apparent drug-related dispute.”

During arraignment, Judge Kim Wilkie ordered Zachary Costin, 21, and Ethan Hatfield, 20, be electronically monitored at home, allowed to leave only for UK classes or medical appointments, consultation with their attorneys and court hearings. They face charges of kidnapping, first-degree robbery and second-degree assault.

John “Porky” Cooper, 36, was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with kidnapping and first-degree robbery, Lexington police said.

Costin is a student, and Hatfield was taking a semester off from UK as he recovered from a broken leg, said his attorney, David J. Guarnieri. Hatfield wore a splint in court.

Hatfield had already been released from Fayette County jail, and Costin was expected to follow. The judge set bond at $5,000 for each. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 24.

Costin’s attorney, J. Guthrie True, said he couldn’t comment in detail because he had just started working on the case Thursday morning.

“He’s certainly innocent until the commonwealth comes forward with proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” True said of his client. “And I’m quite confident they won’t be able to do that.”

Police said in a news release that the victim in the case was a 22-year-old male acquaintance of the three men.

The victim told police that Hatfield and Costin held him against his will at Hatfield’s house on McAtee Lane for two hours on Tuesday night, according to citations filed in Fayette District Court.

The home is off Tates Creek Road, outside of Man o’ War Boulevard adjacent to the Hartland Estates subdivision. The property is nearly 75,000 square feet.

The two were said to have repeatedly hit the victim “with a firearm, hammer causing injury while threatening to kill victim and victim’s family,” the citation stated.

They took the victim’s watch, iPhone, wallet and clothing before eventually releasing him naked, police said in the documents.

Costin and Hatfield were arrested at police headquarters Wednesday afternoon.

Herald-Leader staff writer Karla Ward contributed to this report. Morgan Eads: 859-231-1330, @HLpublicsafety