Fourth alleged shooter claims self-defense

Published 11:15 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The case against the fourth alleged shooter in a gunfight that left two teens dead is going to the grand jury.

Police said Matthew Carmen, 23, admitted to firing a gun on the night of Nov. 7 at the Washington Street Apartments, but that it was in self-defense.

During Carmen’s preliminary hearing Wednesday morning, Winchester Police Sgt. Tom Beall said Carmen was on a raised wooden deck at the apartments around 9 p.m. when Denzel Hill, Darian Skinner and Ronnie Ellis arrived. The three were all armed and reportedly looking for a fight.

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During a related court hearing last week, Beall said the three fanned out as they approached the parking lot. Carmen, Beall said, admitted to firing a .40 caliber handgun, but that it was in self-defense.

Beall said the two victims, 16-year-olds Kayla Holland and Adrianna Castro, were caught in the middle of the gunfight. Holland died at the scene after being shot in the head and Castro died later at Clark Regional Medical Center. A third 16-year-old girl was also between the shooters, but was not injured.

“Initially, he told me he didn’t (fire),” Beall said. “At the end of the interview, he said he fired in self-defense.”

Beall said police believe the shooting followed a verbal argument earlier in the day at the Shell station on Washington Street involving 10 people. On one side were Castro, Holland and three others including a juvenile. The other side of the argument included Ellis, Skinner, Hill, Mikaela Buford and another juvenile, he said.

Ellis, Skinner, Hill and Carmen were all charged with two counts of complicity to commit murder for allegedly participating in the shooting. Buford, 18, was charged with two counts of complicity to commit murder for allegedly driving Ellis, Skinner and Hill to the apartment complex prior to the shooting and driving one away afterward.

All five are being held on a $1 million bond each in the Clark County Detention Center.

Carmen’s girlfriend, Julia Richardson, was arrested for tampering with physical evidence in connection with the shooting. Beall said she removed a box of .40 caliber ammunition from the scene, leaving it in a nearby backyard. During her preliminary hearing Wednesday morning, Beall said Richardson then used a person’s phone to call Carmen after leaving a backpack containing the bullets to ask if she “was good.”

Clark District Judge Earl-Ray Neal ruled there was probable cause for charges against Carmen and Richardson and sent both cases to the grand jury.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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