RUSSELLVILLE – A special judge has been appointed to oversee the case of a suspect accused in the 2015 death of a Logan County man.
Logan Circuit Judge Tyler Gill recused himself last month from involvement in the case against Carolyn Kinder, 35, of Bowling Green, who is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree persistent felony offender.
Kinder is accused of involvement in the death of Robert Wetton, 65, who was found unresponsive Aug. 26, 2015, on his Ellis Road property in Logan County.
She was indicted in May by a Logan County grand jury and is currently in the Logan County Detention Center.
Earl K. Johnson, 60, of Lewisburg, has been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, engaging in organized crime (criminal syndicate), first-degree conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance and first-degree persistent felony offender, according to the Logan County Sheriff’s Department.
Johnson is in custody in Arizona on drug trafficking charges connected to the investigation into Wetton’s death, according to the sheriff’s office.
Gill recused himself from Kinder’s case on the basis that Wetton was the brother of one of the judge’s best friends, according to Logan Circuit Court records.
Judge John Alexander of the 43rd Judicial Circuit, which covers Barren and Metcalfe counties, has been appointed as a special judge.
Alexander has denied a motion from Kinder’s court-appointed public defender, Amie Martinez, to lower her $250,000 cash bond.
“Based on her history, the defendant presents a danger to the community as evidenced by her multiple previous charges as well as the present indictment, which concerns a firearm-related intentional homicide,” Alexander wrote in his June 28 ruling denying a modification of Kinder’s bond.
The judge also noted that, at the time of Wetton’s death, Kinder was free on bond in a Warren County drug trafficking case.
Kinder’s indictment was unsealed after she was arrested May 22.
Court records indicate that authorities believe Wetton was killed for providing statements against Johnson to law enforcement.
According to an online obituary, Wetton was a retired mechanic and native of the African nation of Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe. He was a veteran of the Rhodesian army, a member of the Moose Lodge and attended Crossroads Church.
A month before he was found dead, Wetton was arrested, along with his wife, in July 2015 in Arizona after deputies in Yavapai County, Ariz., seized 20 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop.
According to news reports of the arrest, the Wettons were stopped on a traffic violation, and their suspicious behavior and other factors led a deputy to deploy a drug-detection dog that alerted on the presence of drugs in the vehicle.
A suitcase containing the suspected meth was found in the trunk and drug paraphernalia was found elsewhere in the vehicle.
The Wettons were jailed on charges of transportation of dangerous drugs for sale, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, possession of dangerous drugs and paraphernalia.
Johnson is jailed in Arizona on drug trafficking charges connected to the investigation into Wetton’s death, according to the Logan County Sheriff’s Department.