Politics & Government

Former UK board chairman ruled competent to stand trial in rape case

Billy Joe Miles in 2011
Billy Joe Miles in 2011 File

Billy Joe Miles of Owensboro, a former chairman of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, is competent to stand trial on charges of rape and sodomy, a judge has ruled.

Louisville attorney Scott Cox, one of Miles’ attorneys, confirmed Monday that special Circuit Judge Kelly Easton of Elizabethtown ruled Miles is competent for the trial, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 6.

Cox and other defense attorneys filed a motion earlier this year asking that the court evaluate Miles’ competency to stand trial. They argued that psychological exams of Miles, 77, had shown that Miles is mentally incapable of going to trial.

Cox had no comment Monday on the judge’s ruling of competency. Neither did the prosecutors in Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office, said spokesman Terry Sebastian.

Miles, a prominent farm businessman, was indicted last September on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and bribery of a witness in connection with an alleged incident at Miles’ home in Owensboro.

He was accused of sexually assaulting a 29-year-old female home health-care worker at his home in the morning of July 2. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The rape and sodomy charges are Class B felonies, each subject to 10 to 20 years in prison. The bribing charge is a Class D felony, subject to one to five years in prison. Fines for the felonies range from $1,000 to $10,000.

The rape indictment against Miles alleges that he “engaged in sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion.”

The sodomy charge alleges that Miles engaged in deviate sexual intercourse.

The bribery charge contends that July 2 last year, he agreed “to confer a pecuniary benefit upon a person he believed might be called as a witness in an official proceeding with intent to influence the testimony of that person.”

Miles served three terms on the UK board — from July 1, 1995 to June 30, 2013. He was chairman from September 1999 to September 2002 and chairman pro tem from July 2010 to September 2010.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198, @BGPolitics