Eastern Kentucky congregation helps arrest 2 after fight during Christmas play, police say

Kentucky VINE

When a man and his girlfriend got into a physical fight with a woman at a children’s Christmas play at an Eastern Kentucky church, the congregation intervened and blocked the couple from leaving until an officer arrived, police said.

The girlfriend, Tabitha Ann Compton, 20, arrived with Mark Anthony Gilliam, 21, at Trimble Chapel Church in Prestonsburg, where his children were in a play called “The Gift that Counts.”

A verbal confrontation between Compton and Gilliam’s wife turned physical and spilled outside the church, according to Prestonsburg police. Gilliam allegedly choked his wife. The wife’s mother was holding a young child and was knocked to the ground by Compton, police said in Gilliam’s arrest citation.

While police arrived, “the entire congregation” was standing around the parking lot with a pickup truck blocking the road, according to the court document. “Congregation members stated they blocked the road to keep the inciters from leaving,” the citation said.

Gilliam allegedly lunged at an officer when Gilliam was told to turn around and remove his hands from his pockets. When the officer attempted to put handcuffs on Gilliam, Gilliam “refused to put his hands behind his back and pulled away,” police said.

Compton, 20, faces misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree assault - child abuse and second-degree disorderly conduct, according to court records. She pleaded not guilty, according to the Floyd County Chronicle and Times.

Gilliam, 21, was charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault, one of which is listed as “child abuse;” second-degree disorderly conduct; menacing; and resisting arrest, according to court files and the Floyd County Chronicle.

The following day, Trimble Chapel Church pastor David Bowling “filed a separate complaint against Gilliam, alleging that Gilliam hit him in the face while he was trying to separate the fight,” the Floyd County Chronicle reported. Gilliam was charged with fourth-degree assault.

Gilliam pleaded not guilty and a judge ordered him to stay away from the victims in the case, the Chronicle reported. A March 14 trial was scheduled.

This article is provided via the Kentucky Press News Service.