UPDATE: Prosecutors file paperwork to seek death penalty in Martin Co. triple murder case

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MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 1/4/19 @ 6:28 a.m.
Thursday, prosecutors filed paperwork to seek the death penalty in a Martin County triple murder case.

Police say Lance Ward killed Derek James, Amber Lockard, and Micah Sammons in March of last year.

They were found shot along a road near KY 292.

Ward will be back in court Feb. 21.



UPDATE 6/21/18 @ 10:35 p.m.
A man from Williamson, West Virginia, was formally charged on Thursday with three counts of murder in connection with a shooting in March.

Lance Ward, 28, is accused of the triple killing in the Lovely area.

State police say Ward shot Micah Sammons, Derek James and Amber Lockhard on Golf Branch, just off state Route 292 .

Sammons and James died at the scene, while Lockhard was still alive at the scene and died later in the hospital.

Ward's trial is set for September.



UPDATE 5/3/18 @ 4:45 p.m.
A man will be charged with murder in connection with the deaths of three people found shot to death in March in the Lovely area, Kentucky State Police say.

Lance Ward, 28, of Williamson, West Virginia, is currently jailed in West Virginia on unrelated charges, troopers say. A Martin County grand jury returned an indictment on a murder charge.

On March 23, Amber Lockhard, 31, Micah Sammons, 20, and Dereck L. James, 26, were found shot on Golf Branch, just off Route 292 in Martin County. Lockhard was still alive at the scene and died later in the hospital.

Later in March, Lockhard's missing vehicle was found across state lines in West Virginia.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/28/18 @ 10:30 a.m.
A missing vehicle belonging to a woman murdered in Kentucky has been found across state lines in West Virginia.

KSP tells WSAZ that West Virginia State Police found Amber Lockhard's vehicle Wednesday evening. It was parked along a street in Williamson, West Virginia.

Investigators say it is unclear at this time if the vehicle pertains to the murder case, but it will be processed for any possible evidence.

Lockhard, 31, Micah Sammons, 20, and Dereck L. James, 26, were shot and found on Golf Branch, just off Route 292 in Martin County near the Lovely area on March 23.

Sammons and James were pronounced dead at the scene.

Lockhard was taken to the hospital, where she later died.

As of Wednesday morning, no arrests have been made, but investigators say they have several new leads considered crucial to the case.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/27/18 @ 11:15 a.m.
Kentucky State Police are now investigating the shooting in Martin County as a triple murder.

The Pike County coroner says Amber Lockard, 31, has died.

According to the coroner, Lockard passed away early Tuesday morning at the Pikeville Medical Center.

Kentucky State Police responded to the shooting on Golf Branch, just off Route 292 in Martin County near the Lovely area on Friday.

Kentucky State Police say Micah Sammons, 20, of Kimper, and Dereck L. James, 26, of Huddy, both of Pike County, were killed.

Lockard was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

The old strip mine near where the bodies were found is known as a recreation spot where people ride ATVs and hunt.

As of Tuesday morning, KSP Public Affairs Officer William Petry says there are no suspects in the case.

Petry says investigators are still in the area conducting interviews.

Investigators say several new leads considered crucial to the case have been found.

It is still unclear if the three were shot at the scene, but Petry says police are investigating the possibility that they were shot in a different location and moved to the old strip mine.

Petry says there is no indication that more than one person is involved. KSP is searching for at least one person, but says there could possibly be accomplices.



UPDATE 3/24/18 @ 10:34 p.m.
The name of the third victim in the shooting in Martin County has been released.

Kentucky State Police says Amber Lockard, 31, of Huddy, is in the hospital in critical condition.

Kentucky State Police say Micah Sammons, 20, of Kimper, and Dereck L. James, 26, of Huddy, both in Pike County, were killed.

The bodies were found on Golf Branch just off Route 292 in Martin County near the Lovely area.

The old strip mine near where the bodies were found is known as a recreation spot where people ride ATVs and hunt.

Friday afternoon, Timothy Taylor, his nephew, and the nephew's friend went to the area to check on Taylor's cattle, but they spotted something horrifying

"We were going up through there," Taylor said, "and one of the boys said 'There lays three bodies,' so we turned around and called the law. They all appeared dead to me."

The suspect has not been identified yet, according to KSP.

"The investigation indicates there was a person who assaulted these people and committed the two murders," KSP Public Affairs Officer William Petry said.

Investigators believe these victims were not random.

"Something has led up to this in the past," Petry said.

"I was devastated," Taylor said. "Nothing like this has ever happend in this area."

It's not clear exactly how long the bodies were there before being discovered, but Petry says it's not believed they'd been there since before Friday.



UPDATE 3/23/18 @ 11:20 p.m.
The names of the two people shot to death have been released.

Kentucky State Police say Micah Sammons, 20, of Kimper, and Dereck L. James, 26, of Huddy, both in Pike County, were killed.

The bodies were found on Golf Branch just off Route 292 in Martin County near the Lovely area.

The old strip mine near where the bodies were found is known as a recreation spot where people ride ATVs and hunt.

Friday afternoon, Timothy Taylor, his nephew, and the nephew's friend went to the area to check on Taylor's cattle, but they spotted something horrifying

"We were going up through there," Taylor said, "and one of the boys said 'There lays three bodies,' so we turned around and called the law. They all appeared dead to me."

The suspect has not been identified yet, according to KSP.

"The investigation indicates there was a person who assaulted these people and committed the two murders," KSP Public Affairs Officer William Petry said.

Investigators believe these victims were not random.

"Something has led up to this in the past," Petry said.

"I was devastated," Taylor said. "Nothing like this has ever happend in this area."

The third shooting victim's name has not been released and is in the hospital in critical condition.

It's not clear exactly how long the bodies were there before being discovered, but Petry says it's not believed they'd been there since before Friday.



UPDATE 3/23/18 @ 11:11 p.m.
Two people were shot to death, and a third shooting victim was rushed to a hospital, according to Kentucky State Police.

The bodies were found on Golf Branch just off Route 292 in Martin County near the Lovely area.

The old strip mine near where the bodies were found is known as a recreation spot where people ride ATVs and hunt.

Friday afternoon, Timothy Taylor, his nephew, and the nephew's friend went to the area to check on Taylor's cattle, but said they spotted something horrifying.

"We were going up through there," Taylor said, "and one of the boys said 'There lays three bodies,' so we turned around and called the law. They all appeared dead to me."

The suspect has not been identified yet, according to KSP.

"The investigation indicates there was a person who assaulted these people and committed the two murders," KSP Public Affairs Officer William Petry said.

Investigators believe these victims were not random.

"Something has led up to this in the past," Petry said.

"I was devastated," Taylor said. "Nothing like this has ever happend in this area."

The victims' names have not been released yet.

It's not clear exactly how long the bodies were there before being discovered, but Petry says it's not believed they'd been there since before Friday.



UPDATE 3/23/18 @ 4:52 p.m.
Two people are dead and a third person was taken to the hospital after a shooting in Martin County, Kentucky.

It is now being called a murder investigation.

The scene is along Route 292 near the intersection of Route 468 near the Lovely area.

A trooper with Kentucky State Police says they got a call a little before 1:30 p.m. Friday about three bodies found on a strip mine road.

A teenager at the scene tells WSAZ that Friday afternoon he was traveling with his uncle to an old strip mine site to look at his uncle's cattle. When they got to the site, the teen says they spotted three bodies on the ground.

The teen says they were not the first to arrive and someone else called 911.

Troopers say one person was alive when they got on scene. That victim was taken to South Williamson ARH.

Kentucky State Police, the Pike County Sheriff's Office, and the Martin County Sheriff's Office are at the scene.

Other details are unavailable at this time.



UPDATE 3/23/18 @ 2:55 p.m.
Two people are dead and a third person is on the way to the hospital after a shooting near the Martin/Pike County line.

Troopers, who are referring to it as a murder investigation, tell WSAZ the shooting happened along Route 292. They say it is on a road near an old strip mine off Route 292.

Other details are unavailable at this time.

WSAZ has a crew headed to the scene.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/23/18
Kentucky State Police are on the scene of a shooting with multiple victims.

Troopers tell WSAZ the shooting happened along Route 292 near the Martin/Pike County line.

WSAZ has a crew headed to the scene.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



 
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