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UPDATE: Conviction Upheld in Martin County Murder

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



UPDATE 2/21/13 @ 1:30 p.m.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of an eastern Kentucky man in a case that went unsolved for eight years before an arrest.

The high court Thursday found no cause to grant 30-year-old Jimmy Cornette Jr. a new trial in the 2002 death of Patrick Blackburn in Martin County.

In writing for the court, Justice Mary Noble wrote that there was no proof of pretrial publicity tainting potential jurors in the case nor any reason to delay the trial.

Cornette was convicted of killing Blackburn on June 23, 2002. Police said Cornette and two other men killed Blackburn over a drug debt. All three were arrested in 2010. They were sentenced to life in prison.



UPDATE 7/21/11 @ 1:45 p.m.
MARTIN, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Two of three men involved in the death of Patrick Calvin Blackburn learned their punishment on Thursday.

On June 23, 2002, Blackburn's car was found over a hill on Trace Fork in Martin County, Kentucky. Blackburn was in the back seat covered in blood.

Police say he was beaten and then his car was staged to look like a wreck. The case went cold until last year when police indicted Jerry Stepp, David Jude, and Jimmy Cornette, Jr. on murder charges.

Last month, Stepp pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Thursday he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Jimmy Cornette, Jr. decided to take his case to trial, and last month a jury found him guilty of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday.

Jude also pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for his testimony against Cornette, Jr. following his plea last month. Jude was sentenced to 12 years in prison.



UPDATE 6/22/11 @ 3:55 p.m.
MARTIN, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A jury has found Jimmy Cornette, Jr. guilty of the murder of Patrick Calvin Blackburn.

Court officials tell WSAZ.com the jury deliberated for about an hour late Wednesday morning before reaching the verdict.

The jury recommended a life sentence for Cornette. He will be sentenced on July 21.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/20/11 @ 1:35 p.m.
MARTIN, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Two of the three men prosecutors say were involved in a 2002 murder in Martin County, Ky have made plea deals, while the third man has decided he wants a trial.

On Friday, David Jude pleaded guilty to 1st degree manslaughter in the murder of Patrick Calvin Blackburn. Following the plea, Jude was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

24-hours earlier, Joey Stepp accepted a plea deal, reducing the murder charge to manslaughter in exchange for his testimony against Jimmy Cornette, Jr.

Cornette, Jr’s murder trial started Monday morning in Martin County Circuit Court.

On June 23rd, 2002, Blackburn's car was found over a hill on Trace Fork. Blackburn was in the back seat covered in blood.

Police say he was beaten and then his car was staged to look like a wreck. The case went cold until last year when police indicted Stepp, Jude and Cornette, Jr. on murder charges.

A jury was seated in Cornette Jr.'s murder trial Monday morning. Opening arguments were to start after lunch.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for updated information.



UPDATE 6/17/11
INEZ, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Nine years after police say a Martin County man was murdered, one of the suspects admits to his role in the crime.

On June 23rd, 2002, Patrick Calvin Blackburn's car was found over a hill on Trace Fork. Blackburn was in the back seat covered in blood.

Police say he was beaten and then his car staged to look like a wreck. The case went cold until last year when police indicted Jerry Stepp, David Jude, and Jimmy Cornette, Jr. on murder charges.

Thursday morning, Stepp accepted a plea deal, reducing the murder charge to manslaughter in exchange for his testimony against Jude and Cornette, Jr.

The murder trial for David Jude is scheduled to start Monday. The trial for Jimmy Cornette, Junior is expected to follow Jude's trial. Stepp will be sentenced following both trials

Patrick Blackburn's family did not want to comment until the trials for the other two suspects are over, but said they are pleased with Stepp's guilty plea.

He faces up to ten years in prison.



UPDATE 10/21/10 @ 9:30 p.m.
MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Three men accused of murdering a Martin County man in 2002 pleaded not guilty Thursday.

Jerry Stepp, David Jude and Jimmy Cornette say they were not the ones who beat Patrick Calvin Blackburn to death eight years ago.

Jude's lawyer says his client is wrongly accused.

Blackburn's brother, though, says he will fight in court for his brother.

The three suspects are due back in court for a pre-trial conference in November.



UPDATE 10/13/10 @ 8:52 p.m.
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) --The last of the three men indicted for a 2002 murder in Martin County, Ky. is now in jail.

KSP Detective Jason Dials says David Jude turned himself into authorities at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center in Johnson County.

Dials tells WSAZ.com this happened about 5 pm Tuesday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/12/10 @ 12:11 p.m.
MARTIN, Ky. (WSAZ) -- One of the three men indicted for a 2002 murder in Martin County, KY remains on the run.

A Martin County Grand Jury recently indicted Jimmy Cornette Jr., David Jude and Jerry Stepp for the murder of Patrick Calvin Blackburn.

KSP Detective Jason Dials says David Jude is scheduled to appear in court in Wayne County, W.Va. this week on a malicious wounding charge.

Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Sean Maynard tells WSAZ.com the charges stem from a bar fight in Fort Gay, WV back in March. Jude is accused of slashing a man’s nose and chest with a knife. His jury trial is scheduled to start on Wednesday.

Jude did not show up Tuesday for some pre-trial motions in Wayne County, W.Va. Maynard tells WSAZ.com the paperwork is now being filed to have Jude’s bond forfeited and a warrant issued for his arrest.

Detective Dials tells WSAZ.com, Cornette, Jr. was served his indictment in the Meade County Jail where he is being held on a receiving stolen property charge.

Paintsville Police arrested Jerry Stepp Monday night.

Kentucky State Police ask that anyone with any information on the location of David Jude to contact Kentucky State Police Post 9 Pikeville at 606-433-7711 or 1-800-222-5555.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for more information.



UPDATE 10/12/10 @ 10:25 a.m.
MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- One man indicted for the murder of Patrick Calvin Blackburn is still on the run.

Detective Jason Dials tells WSAZ.com that David Jude has still not been found.

Jerry Stepp, however, was arrested Monday night by the Paintsville Police Department.

Kentucky State Police ask that anyone with any information on the location of David Jude to contact Kentucky State Police Post 9 Pikeville at 606-433-7711 or 1-800-222-5555.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for more information.



ORIGINAL STORY 10/11/10 @ 3:45 p.m.
MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- An eight-year-old murder could now be solved.

Kentucky State Police say three men have been indicted for the 2002 murder of Patrick Calvin Blackburn in Martin County.

KSP says arrest warrants have been issued for Jimmy Cornette Jr., David Jude and Jerry Stepp.

Cornette, Jr. was served his warrant in the Meade County Jail, where he is being held on an unrelated charge.

Investigators are still looking for Jude and Stepp.

KSP says Detective Jason Dials took over as lead investigator in the case. Through the course of his investigation information was obtained that led to this case being presented to the Martin County Grand Jury.

On June 27, 2002, police found Blackburn in his car, severely beaten and near death. He later died of massive head trauma.

Police say Blackburn’s car was shoved off a road and over a hill in a rural part of Martin County. They say the car was caught by a tree before it hit the bottom.

Kentucky State Police ask that anyone with any information on the location of David Jude or Jerry Stepp, to contact Kentucky State Police Post 9 Pikeville at 606-433-7711 or 1-800-222-5555.


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