Four arrested in jail contraband cases

Aaron K. Nelson anelson@civitasmedia.com

March 14, 2014

PRESTONSBURG — Four inmates are being charged with an assortment of crimes following cell searches last month in the Floyd County Detention Center.

In the first case, Toby Mack Akers, 38, of Martin, and Douglas Wayne Blackburn, 37, of Hager Hill, are being charged with one count each of first-degree promoting contraband. On Feb. 15, jail staff say they found a cell phone hidden in a light fixture in the cell they share.

Both Akers and Blackburn admitted to having used the phone in the past, but neither one offered authorities further information regarding its origin, ownership or concealment.

Then, on Feb. 25, officers with the Prestonsburg Police Department served a search warrant at the Floyd County Detention Center. When they removed James W. Miller, 29, of Prestonsburg, from his cell, they discovered him attempting to hide items from the officers.

When confronted, Miller allegedly pulled from his underwear a cell phone charger, a clear plastic bag containing what police believed to be tobacco, and two fingers from a latex glove containing more suspected tobacco and Suboxone. Police also discovered a lighter and rolling papers. Miller is being charged with one count of first-degree promoting contraband.

In the final case, also on Feb. 25, officers executing a search warrant for cell number 67 discovered Thomas E. Shepherd, 39, of Prestonsburg, in possession of a yellow lighter.

On Feb. 26, Shepherd was arrested and charged with first-degree promoting contraband and being a first-degree persistent felony offender. An arrest warrant states that he “cursed at Pretrial Officer Cynthia Stewart” and “threatened to ‘split [Floyd County Jailer] Cheyenne McKinney’s wig.’”

Two days later, authorities say Shepherd caused over $1,000 in damages by breaking windows at the Floyd County Detention Center, and had to be pepper sprayed for jail staff to subdue him. He allegedly assaulted Deputy Jailer Nathan Hall by trying to rub pepper spray on the deputy’s face, and made verbal threats both to “take the top off” of Jailer Cheyenne McKinney’s head and to “get” Deputy Hall when he got out.

Shepherd now faces three charges of retaliating against a participant in the legal process, one count of first-degree criminal mischief, one count of third-degree inmate assault of a corrections officer, and one count of being a first-degree persistent felony offender. He is being held on a $25,000 cash bond.

Jailer McKinney tells the Times that an investigation by Prestonsburg Police into how the contraband items found their way into the jail is still ongoing.