Two double-homicide suspects to face jury

Two alleged shooters in a 2017 double homicide are taking their cases before a jury, while the other two are expected to plead guilty.

The four, Darian Skinner, Denzel Hill, Ronnie Ellis and Matthew Carmen, are all charged with two counts of murder and single counts of wanton endangerment and tampering with physical evidence from a shootout that killed two 16-year-old girls.

During a hearing Monday in Clark Circuit Court, Judge Jean Chenault Logue severed the cases of Carmen and Skinner, so they will be tried separately in the months to come. Hill is expected to plead guilty in June as part of a mediated resolution, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Heidi Engel said. Ellis is expected to enter a plea as well but is being examined to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

A competency hearing has not been scheduled.

Police said Hill, Ellis and Skinner were driven to the apartments around 9 p.m. Nov. 7, 2017, got out of the car, spread out and started firing. Carmen returned fire from an apartment.

The two victims, Adreanna Castro and Kayla Holland, were killed in the crossfire, police said.

Engel said Hill and Ellis also gave statements to police, which was part of the mediation agreement while Carmen sand Skinner did not.

Carmen would be tried first, Engel said. Logue scheduled his trial to begin Nov. 4 with Skinner’s to follow on Feb. 17, 2020.

Witnesses said all four fired shots during the incident Nov. 7, 2017, at 27 E. Washington St.

Winchester Police believe the shooting stemmed from a verbal altercation earlier in the day which included the two victims, Hill, Skinner, Ellis and Mikaela Buford.

Buford pleaded guilty in March to two counts of facilitation to murder and one count of complicity to wanton endangerment for her role. She said she drove Hill, Ellis and Skinner to the apartment complex. She said she knew they were armed, but did not see the shooting.

Buford is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday and has agreed to testify against the others at trial.