Magoffin man charged with retaliating against vote-fraud witness

A Magoffin County man has been accused of threatening a witness in a federal vote-fraud case.

Chris Day allegedly told witness Jamie Gibson he “would slice his guts out” for providing evidence against county Magistrate Gary “Rooster” Risner, according to a court document.

Day is charged with retaliating against a witness to a federal offense.

Risner and three others are charged in federal court with conspiring to buy votes in elections for local offices in 2014.

The others charged are Risner’s wife, Tami Jo; Larry Shepherd, husband of county Clerk Renee Arnett Shepherd; and Mason Daniels.

The four allegedly schemed to buy votes for Risner; county Judge-Executive Charles “Doc” Hardin; and Renee Shepherd, who all won in 2014.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty. Hardin has strongly denied ever being involved in vote-buying.

Day’s attorney, Billy G. Slone, declined comment on the charge against Day on Tuesday.

Greg Motley, an investigator with Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, said Gibson is a primary witness against Risner.

Gibson made a video of himself accepting money for his vote from Risner and gave it to authorities, Motley said in a sworn statement.

Motley said Gibson called him May 28 and reported Day had threatened him for “ratting out” Risner.

Matt Easter, another investigator for the Attorney General’s Office, went to Magoffin County to investigate the report.

Gibson told him Day approached him in the parking lot of a community center in Salyersville, threatened him and spat on him as he walked away, according to a court document.

Salyersville police Chief Matthew Watson, who went to the center, said Day told him he didn’t threaten Gibson, and that Gibson said the altercation was over a girl, according to Easter’s report.

But Gibson’s mother, Hazel Adams, told the investigator she heard Day tell Gibson “rats needed to die,” according to the report.

Motley swore out a criminal complaint against Day on June 2.

The trial for Risner and those charged with him is scheduled to begin July 5.