Trial begins for 2019 parking lot shooting

On the night that Cornelius Tory died inside his Chevrolet Tahoe in a parking lot of Walmart Supercenter in Radcliff, Kendall Lincoln met him as part of a drug deal, Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young said Thursday morning.

During opening statements in Hardin Circuit Court, Young said Lincoln, 22, of Elizabethtown had been in contact with Tory on Dec. 2, 2019. Lincoln was given a ride to the parking lot meeting place by a friend. Young said when Lincoln was parked alongside Tory’s Tahoe, he got out, opened the passenger door of the Tahoe and within a few seconds, he fired multiple shots, killing the Vine Grove resident.

Tory, 20, was dead at the scene.

Lincoln then got back in the vehicle with his friend and he had two guns in his hands and was covered in green from Promethazine, an antihistamine that Tory reportedly had.

Young said Lincoln asked a friend to take him to Pennsylvania in the hours after the shooting and the friend refused.

A friend of Lincoln’s called Radcliff police the following day, the same day Lincoln was arrested during a traffic stop on Joe Prather Highway as he drove toward Interstate 65.

“As the man was dying, he took the man’s gun and Promethazine,” Young told the 14 jurors, who sat in the courtroom gallery spread out instead of the customary jury box. “You know why? That’s how he takes care of his family.”

Defense attorney Zanda Myers said during her opening statements that her client didn’t go to the parking lot with intent to rob or kill Tory. She said Lincoln’s actions were an act of self-defense when Tory pulled a gun on him.

“He had no choice but to shoot him before he was shot,” Myers said. “He didn’t go there with the intention of robbing and killing Cornelius Tory.

“He’s not guilty of robbery and he’s not guilty of murder,” she said.

Among the witnesses Thursday was Tory’s mother, Shelia Hearn, who lived in Vine Grove with her three sons at the time of the shooting. She since has moved to Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Lincoln is charged with murder, first-degree robbery, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and theft by failure to make required disposition of property more than $10,000. He had been lodged in the Hardin County Detention Center since Dec. 3.

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.

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