The attorney for a man accused in a deadly shooting at Whiskey River Pub has asked for help to ensure the suspect can undergo a psychiatric evaluation ahead of trial.
Shannon Eugene Ward, 44, of Elizabethtown, appeared Monday in Warren Circuit Court for a pretrial conference.
Ward is charged with murder and first-degree wanton endangerment in the death of Ellis Wayne Souders, 42, of Bowling Green, who was shot at the River Street bar Sept. 5, 2020.
During Monday’s hearing, Ward’s court-appointed attorney, Alyson McDavitt of the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, asked that Ward be brought to the Warren County Justice Center to undergo a psychiatric evaluation by a doctor on behalf of the defense.
McDavitt said such evaluations typically take place in the Warren County Regional Jail, where Ward is lodged, but a recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the facility has led to restrictions preventing attorneys from having in-person meetings with jailed clients.
“Because of the COVID situation in the jail, we’ve hit a bit of a snag,” McDavitt said.
Ward’s case is currently set for trial in April.
Warren Circuit Judge John Grise said he would work with the jail to make sure that Ward is brought to the justice center and that deputies can be sent to assist with transporting Ward from the jail.
“If we can get the examination taken care of in October, hopefully we can have a report ready to provide to the commonwealth in November or December,” McDavitt said.
Grise set a pretrial hearing for Nov. 9.
Souders’ death was investigated by the Bowling Green Police Department, which was called to Whiskey River Pub at 1:18 a.m. Sept. 5, 2020.
A police report said that after Souders was shot, Ward was taken down by a number of people at the business and his handgun was removed.
City police recovered the handgun from behind the bar.
Ward’s arrest citation said witnesses told police Souders, who was pronounced dead at the scene, posed no threat to Ward at the time of the shooting.
At a preliminary hearing last year in Warren District Court, BGPD Detective David Grimsley said witnesses told police there was no apparent sign of conflict between the two men before the shooting, and the two men did not appear to know each other.
An arrest citation said Ward told police he had been physically attacked prior to using his weapon, but the citation also noted that video evidence from the bar did not appear to support his claim.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.