UPDATE: More Plea Deals in Pike County Murder

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 2/10/12
PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Two more people have taken plea deals that dismiss murder charges against them in a Pike County homicide and fire.

In May of last year, Millard Thornhill's body was found in his burned trailer in Hatfield. Jeffery Lowe, Randy Thomas, Cynthia Ryan and Shannon Turner were all indicted on murder and robbery charges.

On Tuesday after being declared competent to stand trial,Turner pleaded guilty to robbery

Then on Wednesday, Thomas told a judge that he didn't kill Millard Thornhill, but admitted he was involved in a plot to steal pills from him. He then pleaded guilty to criminal intent to rob.

The Commonwealth Attorney has recommended a 10-year sentence for both Thomas and Turner. They will be sentenced in March.

Last month Cynthia Ryan pleaded guilty to robbery. She is now
serving a 10-year sentence.

In December, Jeffery Lowe admitted he helped killed Thornhill and pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Lowe is serving a 20-year sentence.



UPDATE 1/30/12
PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- It is 20 years in prison for Jeffrey Lowe for the death of Millard Thornhill last May.

On Friday, Lowe was sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter and another 10 years for robbery. The sentences will be served consecutively.

In December Lowe agreed to a plea deal that dropped the original murder charge.

Investigators say that Lowe was one of four people involved in Thornhill’s death. They say he had been shot and then his trailer set on fire.

Earlier this month Cynthia Ryan pleaded guilty to robbery. The murder charge against her was dropped as part of a plea deal. Ryan is set to be sentenced on Friday.

Randy Thomas has a hearing on the murder and robbery charge also on Friday.

The other suspect, Shannon Turner, is undergoing a mental evaluation to see if she is competent for trial.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/5/12
PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A murder charge is dismissed against one of the four suspects accused of killing a Pike County man and burning down his home.

Police say in May, Millard "Mitty" Thornhill was shot and then his trailer set on fire.

Four people were charged with robbery and murder. One suspect, Jeffery Lowe, pleaded guilty to manslaughter last month.

Thursday, murder charges were dismissed against Cynthia Ryan, but she will still go to prison on other charges.

Ryan admitted she went to help rob Thornhill but said she did not kill him.

After a mental evaluation determined she was competent for trial, she took a plea deal. As part of the deal to dismiss the murder charges, she pleaded guilty to robbery.

Cynthia Ryan came into court and admitted she was at Millard Thornhill's trailer on May 19. However, she told the judge she did not kill him.

"We went down there to rob him, but the death wasn't supposed to happen. I didn't know that was going to happen," Ryan told Judge Eddy Coleman.

On May 19, 2011, Millard Thornhill's trailer in Hatfield burned. His body was found inside. Police say he was shot to death before the house was set on fire.

On Thursday, the Commonwealth's Attorney agreed Ryan was not responsible for his death and offered a plea deal to dismiss the murder charge in exchange for a guilty plea to robbery.
Ryan accepted the plea deal to dismiss the murder charge.

"She had no intent of any harm coming to Mr. Thornhill and did not take part in any action that resulted in physical harm to him," said Will Collins, Ryan's defense attorney.

Although Ryan admitted to helping rob Thornhill, she did not say what the motive was for the robbery, nor what led to the deadly shooting.

She pleaded guilty to the robbery charge. The commonwealth recommended a ten year sentence. Ryan will be sentenced on February 3.

Another suspect, Randy Thomas, was also in court on Thursday and a trial date was set for February 13.

The other suspect, Shannon Turner, is undergoing a mental evaluation to see if she is competent for trial.



UPDATE 12/12/11
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A Pike County man admits to killing a man and then helping burn his home down.

Jeffery Lowe is one of four people charged with killing Millard "Mitty" Thornhill and setting his home on fire.

On May 19, Thornhill's trailer in Hatfield burned, and firefighters found his body inside. The medical examiner says he was shot to death before the fire started.

Police say the robbery was the motive for the murder.

Lowe, Randy Thomas, Cynthia Ryan and Shannon Turner were indicted on murder and robbery charges.

Monday morning, Lowe accepted a plea deal to reduce the murder charge to manslaughter. He also pleaded guilty to robbery.

During the plea hearing, Judge Eddy Coleman asked Lowe if he knew what he was accused of doing. When Lowe answered yes, Judge Coleman asked, "Can you tell me what that is?" Lowe answered, "Supposedly killing Mr. Thornhill and robbing him." Judge Coleman asked, "Did you in fact engage in that conduct?" Lowe answered "Yes sir."

Lowe wiped away tears when the Commonwealth Attorney recommended a 20-year sentence, 10 years for manslaughter and 10 years for robbery to be served consecutively.

He will be sentenced on January 27.

Thornhill's family lives in West Virginia and was not in court. They told our sister station, WYMT they do not agree with the plea deal.

Lowe's defense attorneys did not comment after the hearing.
Ryan, Turner and Thomas are due in court for a pre-trial conference on January 5.



UPDATE 6/13/11 @ 6:02 p.m.
PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Four people are now accused of killing a Pike County man and setting his house on fire.

A Pike County Grand Jury indicted Jeffery Lowe, Randy Thomas, Cynthia Ryan, and Shannon Turner on murder and robbery charges in the death of Millard Thornhill.

Officials say Thornhill, 65, was shot to death at his home along Route 292 in Pike County on May 19. The suspects then allegedly set Millard's home on fire.

Thomas and Lowe were arraigned on the charges last week.

Both men are being held on a $2 million bond.

No arraignment dates have been set at this time for Ryan and Turner.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/6/11 @ 7 p.m.
PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Two men accused in the murder of a man who was found in a burning home have pleaded not guilty.

Jeffrey Lowe and Randy Thompson were in a Pike County, Ky., courtroom Tuesday.

They are both charged with first-degree murder in the death of 65-year-old Millard Thornhill at his home along Route 292 in Pike County on May 19.

Thornhill was found dead in his burning home, but detectives have not determined if he was dead before or after the fire started. They are still waiting on the autopsy report from the medical examiner's office.

Detectives say the murder was the result of a robbery.

Both men are being held on a $2 million bond.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/3/11 @ 10:55 p.m.
PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- What was first thought to be a deadly house fire is now being called murder.

In late May, Millard Thornhill's body was found inside his burning home along Route 292 in Pike County.

Now, Jeffrey Lowe and Randy Thomas are being charged in connection with his murder.

Investigators say the crime started out as a robbery. It's still not clear whether Thornhill was killed before the fire started.

Police are waiting for a report from the medical examiner.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/20/11
PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Investigators have not released the name of the man killed in a fire in Pike County, Ky.

The fire was reported early Thursday morning at a trailer along Route 292 near the Nolan Toll Bridge. This is near the Pike-Martin county line.

A published report says the body was found when firefighters opened a rear door on the trailer.

Investigators say they'll talk about a cause of death after they see the coroner's report.

The Hatfield Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.


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