Charges have been dropped for a man accused of being complicit in the murder and robbery of an Army veteran.
Prosecutors decided to drop the complicity to commit murder and complicity to first-degree robbery charges for Aaron Pearson, 26, of Radcliff, who was accused in the September 2016 beating death of Norman Hall, 71, inside his Radcliff apartment.
Hardin County Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young said the decision stemmed from Eloysia James-Venerable, 19, who Young said was untruthful during questioning prior to the beginning of the trial, which was slated to start this month.
James-Venerable was 16 when she and Pearson reportedly entered Hall’s home. She accepted a plea deal in February 2018 that recommends she serve 20 to 50 years or life in prison, with parole eligibility after 20 years, in exchange for truthful testimony at trial.
Young said James-Venerable’s testimony was central to the trial.
“If I can’t trust her to be truthful about everything then I am not going to take somebody on trial for a ... capital offense when I’m not 100 percent certain that the individual is telling the truth,” he said. “At the end of the day, my job is not win or lose. It’s just doing justice.”
Young said he could not offer specifics about James-Venerable’s honesty because her sentencing is pending but said her untruthfulness was reason enough to drop the charges.
“What she was lying about may not have been a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the simple fact she was not telling the truth about something called into question her entire statement and I’m not going to take and put an individual’s liberty at risk ... based on somebody not telling the 100 percent truth.”
Young said there was no physical evidence at the crime scene that tested positive that would link Pearson to the crime.
“It was her testimony only,” he said.
Hall, who was on oxygen, died from multiple blows to his head and face and from being stabbed once in the neck, according to medical reports. A 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army, he lived alone in the apartment.
Young said Pearson did plead guilty Tuesday to other charges, including complicity to tampering with evidence and complicity to receiving stolen property. Young said Pearson will be sentenced to prison for 15 years and then will be transported to California, where he is wanted on an armed robbery charge.
According to the plea agreement, the Commonwealth would remove James-Venerable’s offer and she would be sentenced to life without parole if her trial testimony was untruthful. Young said he is going to push for James-Venerable to be sentenced to life in prison.
Young was emphatic when he said he would “do everything in my ... power” to ensure she spends the rest of her life in prison.
James-Venerable is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. Aug. 6. Pearson’s sentencing is scheduled for July 16.