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20 years in prison for Flat Lick man over child sex charges

From the Times Tribune -

Lavern Gray - KCDC

On Monday February 3, 2020, a Knox County jury sentenced a Flat Lick man to 20 years in prison for sexual-related charges involving a minor.

Lavern Gray, 55, was found guilty on two charges: first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, with the jury recommending Gray serve two 10-year sentences to run consecutively, one for each count.

“I thought the jury listened to the evidence tentatively, and they considered it carefully. We’re pleased with the outcome,” said assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Terry Beckner.

Beckner said he wasn’t surprised that the trial only lasted a day, adding that the state called several witnesses to the stand, while the defense didn’t call any.

Gray was indicted on three charges back in July 2018 for an incident that occurred on May 6 of that year. Gray was charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, and first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor.

According to the indictment, Gray was arrested after giving a teenage female drugs before engaging in sexual intercourse with her. The indictment also indicated that the victim was under the age of 15 at the time of the incident.

According to Beckner, the first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor charge was dropped by the Commonwealth before the trial began.

“We dismissed that before the trial started, because I thought it was duplicated what was charged in the other two charges,” he explained, adding, “I just thought it was extra and I thought it was better for the jury to consider the two primary charges.”

During his last pre-trial conference in December 2019, Gray was warned by Judge Gregory Lay that he wouldn’t be able to accept a plea deal once his pre-trial conference was over. Gray still turned down the notion of a plea deal.

“Without ever having talked to him, I don’t get to talk to the defendant, but I presume, based on my observations from afar, he maintained that he was not guilty, and wasn’t going to accept any plea offer,” said Beckner. “We were always prepared to go trial, and apparently they were, too.”

Beckner praised the investigative work performed by Kentucky State Police Trooper Sidney Wagner, saying Wagner did an excellent job in helping corroborate the information the victim was able to relate to the jury.

“I thought he did an exceptional investigation, and really helped us make the case way better.”

Gray is scheduled to reappear in Knox County Circuit Court on March 27 for formal sentencing.

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