Execution off the table as four enter pleas in deaths of Lexington pregnant woman, unborn son

Maryiah Coleman
Maryiah Coleman

Four men will avoid the possibility of a death penalty after pleading guilty Tuesday to charges related to the 2016 shooting death of Maryiah Coleman, a pregnant Lexington bystander out walking a dog.

Demetrioun Boaz, 22, pleaded guilty to murder and third-degree fetal homicide, for a total recommended sentence of 35 years in prison.

Joseph Fain, 21, Saquan Freeman, 21, and Skylar Stigall, 23, all pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and third-degree fetal homicide. The recommended sentence for each was 12 years on manslaughter and 10 years on fetal homicide, but it will be up to Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell to determine a sentence of between 10 and 22 years.

Bunnell scheduled sentencing for March 14.

The four defendants had sought to have the death penalty excluded but Bunnell overruled that motion in December.

Coleman, 22, was not the intended victim of the robbery that led to the shooting. She was walking her family’s dog outside the Matador North Apartments on Winburn Drive when she was shot. She was eight months pregnant.

Coleman and her unborn son, Jakobe, died at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital about an hour after the shooting.

The indictment against the four said Eric Cannady was the intended robbery victim. While all four had guns, only one weapon was fired. Robbery charges against all four defendants in the Cannady case were dismissed.

However, Fain and Freeman pleaded guilty to amended charges on another, unrelated robbery. In that October 2016 case, a 22-year-old man was shot following a robbery at a Red Mile Road apartment.

Fain, initially charged with first-degree robbery in the Red Mile case, pleaded guilty to facilitation to robbery. The amended charge carries a recommended one-year sentence.

The first-degree robbery charge against Freeman for the Red Mile robbery was amended to second-degree robbery. The recommended sentence is 10 years.

Greg Kocher has been at the Lexington Herald-Leader since 1997. He covers state and federal courts, and some breaking news. From 1997 to 2016, he was a regional reporter who covered counties adjacent to Fayette County.