Trio indicted for arson, insurance fraud
By Anthony Cloud firstname.lastname@example.org
Three people arrested in regards to an alleged insurance fraud scheme were indicted by the Bell County Grand Jury recently.
Eric Scott Miller, 32, of Beverly, Shirley M. Couch, 39, of Middlesboro, and Kelly A. Barrett, 18, of Beverly, were indicted in connection with a vehicle burning event.
Miller was indicted for second-degree arson. Couch and Barrett were indicted for burning personal property to defraud an insurer.
According to the criminal complaint, Miller set fire to a 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser owned by Barrett with the intent to destroy the vehicle. Barrett is the girlfriend of Miller. The vehicle was insured by State Farm.
The complaint states Couch, being the insured with State Farm Insurance on the PT Cruiser, aided in the burning of the vehicle in an attempt to defraud her insurance company.
Deputies Patrick Brooks and Scott Gray were the arresting officers.
Officer Mike Cooper with the Pineville Police Department filed the criminal complaint.
In other court news, two people from Pineville were indicted for forging blank personal checks.
Sharon June Nickels, 36, was indicted for knowingly exploiting an adult for over $300. Gillis Russell Nickels was indicted for complicity to commit knowingly exploiting an adult for over $300.
According to the indictment, Sharon Nickels was the care provider for Evelyn Main, who is now deceased, and forged blank personal checks on Main’s bank account. She unlawfully took $34,734.61 from the account with the intent to deprive Main.
The indictment states Gillis Nickels is the husband of Sharon Nickels and transported a forged check in excess of $300 on the account of Main.
Det. Mark Mefford, Sgt. Jackie Pickrell and Trooper Keith Baker of the Kentucky State Police investigated the case.
Others indicted and charges include:
*Christopher C. Thacker, 24, of Middlesboro, second-degree robbery, second-degree criminal trespass, possession of drug paraphernalia, theft by unlawful taking;
* Joshua A. Fuson, 29, of Middlesboro, theft by unlawful taking over $500, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument;
* Billie Jean Wyrick, 36, of Middlesboro, theft by unlawful taking (auto);
* Bobby Lee Gibson, 27, of Middlesboro, third-degree burglary;
* Jerry D. Hobbs, of Scalf, theft by unlawful taking over $500;
* Tommy Lee Upton, 37, of Middlesboro, theft by unlawful taking over $500;
* Kevin B. Burkhart, 28, of Evarts, first-degree promoting contraband, persistent felony offender;
* Ashley N. Burkhart, 28, of Pineville, two counts first-degree promoting contraband, persistent felony offender;
* Tammy Lee Brooks, 36, of Middlesboro, first-degree promoting contraband;
* Tiffany McGeorge, 22, of New Tazewell, Tenn., first-degree promoting contraband, possession of marijuana;
* Jeremy Spradlin, 25, of Middlesboro, possession of marijuana, first-degree promoting contraband;
* Tommy I. Chasteen, 26, of Pathfork, operating on suspended/revoked operators license, operating motor vehicle while under the influence, persistent felony offender;
* Amanda Turner, 34, of Middlesboro, theft by unlawful taking under $500, first- and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, possession of drug paraphernalia, second- and third-degree possession of a controlled substance.
Anthony Cloud can be reached at 606-248-1010, ext. 1125 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN.
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