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Man facing child rape, incest charges might be close to plea deal

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By Shannon Brock

A Bloomfield man who faces charges of rape, incest and sexual abuse of a child appears to be close to reaching a plea agreement with the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Robert Michael Stevens, 35, of the 3000 block of Franklin Road, appeared in Spencer Circuit Court on Thursday with his attorney Steven R. Romines.
Romines advised Judge Charles Hickman that he had been in extensive settlement negotiations with Commonwealth Attorney Laura Donnell and asked the case to be passed a few weeks to finish those negotiations.
Stevens is scheduled for a disposition hearing on Feb. 20 at 9 a.m.
“I want to have it done [on that date],” Romines told Hickman and Donnell.
Stevens is charged in Spencer Circuit Court with three counts of first-degree rape, three counts of incest and three counts of first-degree sexual abuse. According to court records, the victim was less than 12 years old.
According to family members who asked not to be identified to protect the identity of the victim, the victim in this Spencer County case is a 6-year-old girl.
Stevens was arrested in this case on Oct. 5.
Stevens was indicted by an Estill County grand jury in December on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse, victim under 12 years of age.
Stevens is scheduled to be arraigned in that case in Estill County Circuit Court on Jan. 24 at 9:30 a.m.
Also in Circuit Court on Thursday:
•Aaron C. Benson, 23, of West Shelby House in Shelbyville, and Shaun C. Mathis, 21, of Fleming Road in Shelbyville, were each arraigned on eight charges.
Both Benson and Mathis entered not guilty pleas to three counts of second-degree burglary complicity, two counts of third-degree burglary complicity, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief complicity and one count of theft by unlawful taking complicity.
According to a uniform citation, filed by Spencer County Sheriff’s Detective Tony Mattingly, both men “burglarized a residence at 4700 Mount Washington Road on two separate occasions and a second residence on the same property.”
“On [the] second burglary, suspects caused massive damage by breaking household items and pouring bleach on property,” Mattingly wrote.
Damage is estimated at around $25,000, the report said.
The suspects also burglarized a barn twice, taking two four-wheelers on two separate occasions. During one of the burglaries, the suspects drove a four-wheeler into a lake, submerging it underwater, the citation said.
Both men were allowed to remain out of custody on the same bond and each is scheduled to next appear in Circuit Court on Feb. 20 at 9 a.m.
•Karen Cook, 40, formerly of Main Street in Taylorsville, appeared with her attorney who told Hickman his client was considering an amended offer from the Commonwealth Attorney.
Cook turned herself in last summer after police found an active meth lab in an apartment in the 100 block of West Main Street.
Cook was indicted in July on charges of complicity manufacturing methamphetamine, first offense; complicity first-degree possession of a controlled substance, first offense; complicity unlawful possession of a meth precursor, first offense; and complicity buying/possessing drug paraphernalia.
Cook’s attorney asked that since she had no prior criminal record and that she turned herself in to police, if the court would consider a $50,000/10 percent cash bond, which is essentially $5,000, that would be posted by Cook’s grandmother.
Hickman agreed to that bond, but said while Cook was out of custody she needed to seek treatment. Hickman said if she had any positive or diluted drug screens he would take the $5,000. Assistant Commonwealth Attorney David Nutgrass also interjected that at that point, the Commonwealth could seek the additional $45,000.
Cook is scheduled to next appear in court on Feb. 6 at 9 a.m.
•Kevin A. Highlander, 41, of Falmouth, appeared in court Thursday. Highlander’s original charges stem from an incident where he and another Falmouth resident, Tina Scott, were arrested for “shooting up” in the Country Mart parking lot.
Highlander pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years for complicity first-degree possession of a controlled substance, heroin; three years for first-degree possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; and 12 months for complicity possession of drug paraphernalia, all of which were probated.
Highlander was arrested in December for a probation violation and is now scheduled for a revocation hearing on Feb. 6 at 9 a.m.
•Joey Singer, 37, of Frontier Drive, was scheduled for sentencing on Thursday. However, his attorney was not present and he was required to cooperate further with Probation and Parole before sentencing could proceed.
Singer was indicted July 25 on charges of cultivation of marijuana, five or more plants, first offense; trafficking in marijuana, eight ounces to less than five pounds, first offense; possession of marijuana; buy/possess drug paraphernalia; and trafficking in marijuana, less than eight ounces, first offense.
Singer is now scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 6 at 9 a.m.
•Robert Michael Howard, 43, of the 100 block of Cull Road, was on the docket for Thursday for a disposition hearing.
Howard is charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse involving a child under 12 years old and six counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor.
Howard, who is still in custody, was present Thursday, but his attorney, Stephen Wright, and Donnell approached the bench for an off-the-record discussion with Hickman. When that discussion concluded, Howard’s case was not addressed publicly.
Howard is now scheduled for a disposition hearing on Feb. 20 at 9 a.m.