LaRue County deputy faces no criminal charges in fatal shooting

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Grand jury decides not to return indictment

By Sarah Bennett

Following a special meeting Monday of the LaRue County grand jury, jurors did not return a verdict against a sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot a suspect in December.

LaRue County Deputy James E. Williamson, 24, was pursuing a reckless driving suspect Dec. 7 on Ky. 1192 when the vehicle spun out and came to a rest facing him, according to Kentucky State Police.

Williamson left his vehicle and began to approach the suspect, Thomas E. Ferguson, 38, of Magnolia, when Ferguson accelerated toward him, police said. Williamson fired shots, one of which struck the driver in the head.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Whitney Meredith said the grand jury was called Monday to hear KSP’s presentation of the investigation. She said the irregular meeting was called because of the lengthy presentation and other time constraints.

“There was a lot of evidence to go through,” Meredith said.

Ultimately, the grand jury returned a decision of “no true bill,” which means jurors did not believe there was evidence to support a criminal charge, she said.

Asked if there was any indication why jurors opted not to return an indictment, Meredith declined to comment because jury deliberations are secret.

“They don’t necessarily have to tell us,” she said. “We’re not in there.”

Williamson has been relieved of any criminal charges, according to a news release from KSP Post 4.

Detective Sgt. Kevin Johnson investigated the incident. According to state police, the investigation remains open until the post receives word from the courts evidence may be released.

On Monday, LaRue County Sheriff Merle Edlin said Williamson has been on administrative leave as the investigation was pending. With the conclusion of the court case, the deputy gradually will return to duty at the sheriff's office, he said.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.