Special Reports

Former worker at Garrard group home pleads guilty in resident's death

A former group-home worker has pleaded guilty in the 2011 death of an intellectually disabled resident.

Tyler Brock, 21, of Corbin originally was indicted on one count of murder in the death of Shawn Akridge on June 12.

Brock pleaded guilty Tuesday in Garrard Circuit Court to the lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors said in court documents that Brock "wantonly caused the death of Shawn Akridge by beating or kicking him."

Brock also pleaded guilty to knowingly abusing Akridge, who "was incapable of managing his own resources, carrying out daily living or protecting himself from neglect, exploitation or abuse because of his mental dysfunction," court documents said.

Brock was an employee of a group home near Paint Lick operated by Community Ties of America, a company based in Tennessee. The company ultimately closed its group homes in Kentucky. Akridge was one of three residents of the home near Paint Lick.

Brock initially told a state police detective that another resident of the home, Chester Watkins, killed Akridge. Brock told police he saw Watkins choking Akridge on the bathroom floor of the home. That allegation prompted state police to charge Watkins with murder, and Watkins was jailed.

An autopsy later revealed that Akridge died of internal abdominal bleeding, not strangulation, and police determined that Brock had lied.

Charges against Watkins were dropped.

Second-degree manslaughter and knowingly abusing an adult carry prison sentences of five to 10 years each.

The office of Garrard Commonwealth's Attorney Thomas Lockridge is recommending that Brock serve 10 years consecutively on each count, for a total of 20 years, according to court documents.

Sentencing is scheduled July 20, court documents said.