UPDATE: Murder charge sent to grand jury, suspect remains held on no bond

0
1220

UPDATE POSTED 11 A.M. MARCH 5, 2021

MERCER COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Murder charges against a Mercer County man are sent to a grand jury and the suspect will remain in jail on his current bond.

- Advertisement -

Following a hearing, Mercer District Court Judge Jeff Dotson ruled enough probable cause existed against 50-year-old Gerald Calhoun to send murder and related charges, including abuse of a corpse and meth possession, to the next session of the Mercer County Grand Jury.

The judge also did not change Calhoun’s bond. He currently is held on no bond on the murder charge and a $5,000 cash bond on the other crimes.

UPDATE POSTED 5 P.M. FEB. 8, 2021

MERCER COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Mercer County judge refuses to reduce the bond for a murder suspect Monday, but promises to review the matter later.

During a brief hearing Monday afternoon, Mercer District Court Judge Jeff Dotson entered a not guilty plea on behalf of 50-year-old Gerald Calhoun, who has been held without bond since his arrest last week.

Calhoun is charged with murder, evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse in the Feb. 3 shooting death of Hagen Whitaker.

The body was found off Garrard Street by a man walking his dog.

Investigators called it a “drug deal gone bad.”

Judge Dotson named Public Defender Stefanie Mundhenk to represent Calhoun at a Feb. 18 preliminary hearing. She asked the judge to consider setting a reasonable bond.

“Mr. Calhoun cooperated with police in this case, he didn’t flee, he didn’t resist, he made a statement, he’s shown every indication of planning to appear in court. Regarding the safety of the community, Mr. Calhoun has a minimum criminal history, moderate moderate risk. Given the nature of the charge, your honor is going to be hesitant to set a low bond,” Mundbenk said.

Judge Dotson said he would further review the bond and make a decision by Wednesday.

Calhoun remains in the Boyle County Detention Center.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED FEB. 3, 20210

MERCER COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Mercer County man described as homeless has been charged with murder in connection with the death of another man whose body was found Wednesday.

According to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, 50-year-old Gerald Lamont Calhoun was booked into the Boyle County Detention Center at about 1 a.m. Thursday on murder, evidence tampering and corpse abuse charges in the death of Hagen B. Whitaker, who lived with his mother on Greenville Street.

He is being held without bond pending an arraignment Monday, Feb. 8 in Mercer County District Court before Judge Jeff Dotson.

Mercer Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Elder said the victim’s body was found at about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday in a wooded area along Garrard Street at the entrance to a subdivision in Harrodsburg by a man who was walking his dog. Elder said the man’s dog “really wanted to go” into the woods and when the man went to look, he spotted the body.

Whitaker’s mother reported him missing at about 2 p.m. after he failed to come home.

Elder said investigators aren’t sure when he was killed, but say Calhoun, who Elder said was homeless, gave a statement after he was arrested during a traffic stop on North College Street late Wednesday night.

Elder said drugs “definitely were involved” in the shooting death and that the two men were “friends” and “definitely knew each other.” He described it as a “drug deal gone awry,” but he wouldn’t provide additional details, saying investigators still are looking for some other possible witnesses and don’t “want to put words in their mouths.”

Information provided by Whitaker’s mother and others helped point investigators toward Calhoun as a suspect, Elder said.

In the arrest citation, investigators say Calhoun admitted shooting Whitaker and dumping the body near Bright Leaf Golf Course where it was found in an effort to hide the crime. Elder said the body was found at the bottom of a small hill leading “down to a creek.”

Elder described Calhoun as “well Known” to law enforcement. Jail records suggest he has an arrest record in Mercer County dating back to at least 2009 with arrests for cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin possession.

The sheriff’s office says this is the first homicide the office has had since 2016.