Change of venue for gay Kentucky murder case
Joshua W. Cottrell, charged with killing a Hardin County, Ky., man and stuffing his body into a suitcase, will be tried on murder charges in Hardin County instead of Breckinridge County, where it was initially thought the victim died. The case was moved because 36-year-old Guinn Richard "Richie" Phillips likely died in a Hardin County motel room, according to forensics. Cottrell, 22, was originally indicted for the June killing in Breckinridge County circuit court. The case was presented to the Hardin County grand jury on Tuesday.
Court records show police believe Cottrell killed Phillips in an Elizabethtown motel room after inviting him there. According to court records, police believe that Phillips was killed because he was gay. Cottrell's aunt and cousin told state police that Cottrell had said to them that he planned to kill Phillips because of his sexual orientation. Phillips's body was found stuffed inside a suitcase floating in Rough River Lake in Breckinridge County on June 25, eight days after his family reported him missing.
Hardin County commonwealth's attorney Chris Shaw and Breckinridge County commonwealth's attorney Kenton Smith will now jointly prosecute the case. Neither has indicated if the death penalty will be sought in the case. Cottrell is scheduled to be arraigned in Hardin County circuit court on October 28 before Judge T. Steven Bland.