Daviess County Commonwealth Attorney Bruce Kuegel and his team will be prosecuting five different homicide trials in the first five months of 2019, four of which he offered details on. According to Kuegel, neither he nor his team have ever seen a homicide caseload in Daviess County like the one they’re seeing now.
Three individuals have been charged for the murder of Ohio County man Tromain Mackall, whose deceased body was found floating in a toolbox in Spring Fork Creek in Grayson County on Aug. 2, 2016. Mackall was 29 at the time of his death.
On Dec. 11, 2018, Kentucky State Police released the names of two of the three murder suspects charged in connection to the crime.
According to the release, KSP detectives charged Christopher Stephen Hill, then 33, of the 2400 block of Griffith Ave. with murder, kidnapping. On Jan. 19, 2018, Hill, now 35, plead not guilty and a jury trial is scheduled for Mar. 18, 2019.
The KSP release stated that the KSP Crime Lab successfully linked William Eugene Howard, Jr., then 48, of Clarksville, Ky. to the murder of Mackall and received the same charges as Hill. Howard, now 50, entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on May 25, 2017. A reset for his pretrial conference is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2019, where a trial date will then be set.
KSP later arrested and charged a third person in relation to the murder of Mackall. Melanie Denise Howard, 59, of Falls of Rough, Ky. was charged with murder, kidnapping and two counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment and a pretrial conference has been scheduled for Jan. 25, 2019.
According to the KSP report, Mackall was declared missing on July 25, 2016, according to the Ohio County Sheriff’s Office. Autopsy results showed Mackall had died from “multi-modal asphyxiation,” meaning death was caused by impairing Mackall’s breathing through more than one method. His death was ruled a homicide.
Kuegel and his team will be prosecuting another homicide case that stems from a DUI accident, which caused the death of a passenger in 2017. According to a complaint warrant filed by Daviess District Court, Robert K. Garner, 19, of the 1200 block of W. 15th St. was charged by a grand jury with murder and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence on Sept. 8, 2017.
On Sept. 3, 2017, at 3:49 a.m., at the intersection of US Hwy. 60 East and US Hwy. 231 North, Garner ran a red light while he was both speeding and intoxicated. Documents state that Garner’s vehicle became airborne and struck a patch of trees on an embankment, which caused the vehicle to flip and come to a rest overturned in a lake.
The warrant states that the passenger, Cody Glover, was ejected from the vehicle and into the lake. The victim later died at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital after being removed from the lake by police and rescue. The cause of death was determined to be drowning, as declared by Daviess County Deputy coroner Mike Postlewaite.
A $100,000 full cash bail was set for Garner, who entered a not guilty plea on Nov. 16, 2017. Garner’s jury trial will be held on Feb. 19, 2019.
Another murder case being prosecuted by the Daviess County Commonwealth Attorney’s office is that of Austin L. Haaff, who was charged with murdering his infant son on April 30, 2018. Haaff, 22, of the 2600 block of Wimsatt Court Circle was charged with killing his infant son after admitting to shaking the child ten days before his arrest on April 20, 2018. An OPD report states that Haaff’s son died on April 26 “as a result of the injuries caused by the subject’s shaking of the infant.”
Injuries suffered by the infant included bilateral subdural bleeding in the brain, retinal hemorrhages, multiple rib fractures, a cervical spine injury and spinal cord subdural hemorrhages, according to the report. It also states that after the infant was taken to Norton’s Children’s hospital on April 20, Dr. Melissa Currie of University of Louisville’s Pediatric Forensic Medicine determined that the infant’s injuries were diagnostic of abusive head trauma.
The grand jury indicted Haaff for the murder of his son on May 7, 2018. A $100,000 full cash bond was set that same day. Haaff pled not guilty to the murder charges on June 22, 2018, and a jury trial is scheduled for April 23, 2019.
The final homicide case Kuegel and his team will be prosecuting in the first half of 2019 is that of Preston T. Williams. Williams, 26, of the 600 block of Bolivar St. was charged with murder on Feb. 8, 2017 and as a persistent felony offender on Dec. 5, 2018. Williams’ cash bond was set for $500,000 on Feb. 8, 2017 and another cash bond for $30,000 was set on Dec. 6, 2018.
Williams’ charges are from a Dec. 12, 2016 shooting incident. Around 8:43 p.m., in the 600 block of Sycamore St., OPD responded to numerous 911 calls related to shots being fired. Jerard Fountain was found with an apparent gunshot wound and was transported to OHRH, where he was pronounced dead.
Surveillance footage and witness testimony helped OPD detectives identify Williams as the suspect in the shooting. Surveillance footage showed a car circling around Fountain’s residence and caught Fountain stepping out of his own vehicle and walking to the side of the car where it was later discovered was occupied by Williams. Williams fled after shooting Fountain, who returned fire during the confrontation, and was later found by witnesses and first responders, according to an OPD police report.
Fountain’s death was discovered to have been caused by injuries related to being shot, as detailed in the medical examiner’s preliminary report. According to the police report, Williams has maintained his innocence in regard to the actions that led to Fountain’s death.
Williams entered a not guilty plea for the murder charge on Feb. 23, 2017 and is set to stand trial on May 21, 2019.