Lexington man's assault charge is changed to murder

Joel Searcy
Joel Searcy

A 31-year-old man has been charged with murder in the death of a Lexington man, who was assaulted during an attempted car theft Aug. 1, Lexington police said.

Joel Searcy was charged in the death of Donald "Leroy" Cook, 82, of Lexington. Police said Searcy assaulted Cook and tried to steal Cook's truck after a series of events that began with a reported kidnapping.

Lexington police officers responded to a reported kidnapping about 2:30 p.m. Aug. 1. at Sixth Street and Headley Avenue. A woman told police she and four children had been kidnapped by Searcy.

Police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Searcy and the woman were acquaintances.

Searcy was driving a black SUV that struck another vehicle while the woman and her children were passengers, the woman told police. After the collision, Searcy stopped the vehicle at Sixth and Headley and ran off, police said.

A short time later, officers were dispatched to a disorder in the parking lot of PDQ Market at 400 New Circle and Meadow Lane.

People detained Searcy after he was seen pushing a man from a truck and trying to steal the vehicle, police said. Cook told police that Searcy entered his truck near Broadway and Loudon and told him to drive. When they reached PDQ, Searcy tried to steal the truck. Cook told police that Searcy assaulted him while trying to take the keys.

Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Cook's injuries initially did not appear to be life-threatening, but his condition deteriorated. He died Sunday at Saint Joseph Hospital.