PULASKI, COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Possible coronavirus cases in both a juror and an accused drug trafficker in an unrelated federal trial may mean it’ll be awhile before a Pulaski County constable gets his next day in court.
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court, federal public defender Andrew Stephens remains tied up in a trial that started Feb. 24 and needs more time to be able to meet with 56-year-old Gary Baldock, the constable charged with violating the civil rights of Pulaski County citizens and wounding an FBI agent who was trying to arrest him.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Hanly Ingram tentatively has granted a delay in a preliminary hearing and detention hearing for Baldock, who remains in the Grayson Detention Center.
Last week, Ingram appointed Stephens to represent Baldock after attorney Dan Carman was allowed to withdraw because Baldock’s family couldn’t come up with Carman’s fee.
In a status report filed with the court Friday, Stephens said a juror in the drug-trafficking case in which he is involved has been excused for a few days with a sore throat as a precaution against the coronavirus.
In addition, the trial has been delayed because Stephens’ client, Katherine Matthews also is sick and has been tested for the coronavirus,
The judge in that case and attorneys are scheduled for a phone conference later Monday and for the trial to potentially resume Tuesday. It is expected to go into early April, according to Stephens’ status report.
According to court records, the four people – Matthews, Robert Chipperfield, Robert Early Wallace and Torrey Ward — were indicted for trafficking more than five kilos of cocaine and more than 500 grams of methamphetamine in Fayette County between March 2014 and April 21, 2017.
If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison on each count. Federal prosecutors also are trying to get potentially millions in drug proceeds and a Hawker 700A airplane allegedly used in the trafficking, according to court records.
Baldock, who was elected District 4 Pulaski County constable in November 2018, and District 5 Constable Michael “Wally” Wallace were indicted Feb. 27, 2020 on intimidation charges. Federal agents went to their homes on March 6 to arrest them.
Wallace was arrested without incident but according to FBI affidavits, the 5-10, 298-pound Baldock brandished a firearm and opened fire, despite being warned FBI agents were at his home.
That resulted in an aggravated assault charge against Baldock as well.
In an affidavit, FBI special agent David J. Lowery wrote FBI agents went to Baldock’s home on Mountain View Drive near the Somerset Airport at about 6 a.m., and activated emergency lights. Through a loudspeaker, agents announced they were at the residence and on several occasions, urged Baldock to come out, Lowery said in the affidavit.
After Baldock would not respond, “FBI personnel breached the front and rear doors to the residence. Agents outside the rear entry to the residence observed Baldock standing inside the residence with his hand on a holstered pistol. An agent repeatedly ordered Baldock to drop the gun while identifying himself as ‘FBI.’ Baldock then brandished the firearm and began shooting at the agents,” Lowery wrote.
FBI agents returned fire, wounding Baldock. An agent also was wounded.
Lowery’s affidavit notes agents were wearing clothing that clearly identified them as law enforcement.
The wounded agent, who has not been named, was released from the hospital the same day.
Baldock and Wallace each face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the civil rights intimidation charges. Baldock faces up to 20 years on the aggravated assault charge
The two were indicted for intimidating and threatening Pulaski citizens between November 18, 2018 and Sept. 24, 2019, according to an indictment filed Feb. 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
The two men “conspired together to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate” through bogus “unreasonable searches and seizures” that took property without probably cause, according to the charges.
Both men face May 11 trial dates, although that date may be continued. Wallace is free on his own recognizance.
Prosecutors say a trial could last five days.
The county’s three other constables aren’t named in any investigation.
Wallace is a veteran constable first elected in 2006 who frequently posts bold press releases on his Facebook page about his crackdown and arrests on drug dealers. He attracted attention last fall when he started placing signs in yards saying “This Drug House Closed for Business, Compliments of the Pulaski County Constable’s Office, Michael “Wally” Wallace.”
The Grand Jury alleges his efforts to clean up the community went too far, violating civil rights along the way.
The 56-year-old Baldock was elected to the open District 4 seat in November 2018, only a short time before he allegedly started to conspire with Wallace.
A 1982 graduate of Casey County High, he’s sold farm gates for years, owning Gary Baldock Farm Gates, according to his LinkedIn page. He was a sheriff’s deputy in Casey County from 1987 to 1994 and in Pulaski County from May 2015 until June 2018 when he stepped down to run for office.
The FBI apparently began its investigation last fall and had notified local prosecutors. At least part of the probe targets searches in which confiscated items were not reported or under-reported. That included money and other items.
Wallace has been speculated as a possible sheriff candidate in two years and he has dozens of criminal cases pending from his drug arrests. Those cases could come under scrutiny based on the criminal charges against him because defense attorneys almost certainly will argue their clients are the victim of false arrests.