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Shell takes 20 year plea deal in killing of former Evarts mayor

From WRIL -

Shelby Lee Shell - HCDC

An Evarts man finally took a plea deal today Tuesday, March 10, 2020 in regard to the murder of former Evarts Mayor Ronnie King in 2013.


36 year old Shelby Lee Shell was in Harlan Circuit Court for final sentencing in the murder case and a separate hostage situation on March 8, 2014 at the Harlan County Detention Center.


Shell took a 20 year plea on the murder charge and the kidnapping charges of two deputies at the jail were amended to misdemeanors.


While the incident at the detention center did not result in Shell getting out of the facility, he still held two deputies hostage during the incident.


At 29, Shell was accused of killing King and setting his home on fire in February 2013. King’s body was found in his burning house and after a forensic examination it was found he had died of a single gunshot wound to the head.


Shell had been charged with murder, robbery - 1st degree, burglary - 1st degree, arson - 1st degree, tampering with physical evidence, and was lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center held under $1,000,000 and $10,000 cash bonds.


In March of 2019 after a hearing was moved to Bell County Circuit Court, Harlan County Circuit Court Judge Kent Hendrickson declared the murder case a mistrial when the jury came back with a 6 - 6 count.

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