Federal judge allows trial in controversial Owsley County death lawsuit

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OWSLEY COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- In a 53-page opinion, a federal judge Wednesday allowed a family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the Owsley County Sheriff’s Department to go to trial, likely early next year, although he did exclude some issues and allow some others (read the ruling 93. Opinion and Order.9.2.20 ).

The family of 42-year-old Charles Harris filed a federal lawsuit in May 2018 alleging Sheriff Kelly Shouse ordered deputy Michael Havicus to shoot and kill Harris on March 22, 2017 inside his apartment for no reason during an investigation into a minor family disturbance.

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The original lawsuit claimed the sheriff didn’t call an ambulance, allowing Harris to bleed to death.

The lawsuit originally alleged a woman both men appeared to have been dating at the time called the sheriff’s cell phone claiming she’d had an altercation with Harris.

The lawsuit goes on to allege Sheriff Shouse showed up at Harris’ apartment with Havicus, in response to the call.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wier told lawyers for both sides to file paperwork in preparation for a possible trial.