Former Kentucky State Police Detective Charged With Making False Statements, While Under Oath, During A United States District Court Hearing
Allegedly made false declarations about the destruction of evidence
Eastern District of Kentucky recused from prosecution
LEXINGTON, Ky. – John E. Kuhn, Jr., United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, announced the grand jury indictment of a former Kentucky State Police Detective for making false statements, while under oath, during a United States District Court hearing in Lexington. The statements were made while testifying about the destruction of evidence tied to the prosecution of defendants charged by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. For that reason, the Eastern District was granted a recusal in this prosecution.
According to the May 18, 2017, grand jury indictment, that was unsealed yesterday before Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins, in Lexington, Charles J. Senters, 41, of Manchester, located in Clay County, Kentucky, committed perjury when he made three false statements while testifying during a hearing on a motion to dismiss charges. The hearing was held on July 24, 2014, in U.S. District Court in Lexington.
Senters, while a detective with Kentucky State Police (KSP), participated in the investigation of the murder of Eli Marcum, whose body was found in Clay County, Kentucky, on December 8, 2012. In his official capacity, Senters had custody of physical evidence collected at or near the homicide scene including a yellow telephone cord and a small silver knife.
As lead detective, Senters submitted numerous items of evidence to the Kentucky State Police Lab for DNA testing. On October 1, 2013, Senters destroyed the telephone cord and silver knife without first submitting the items for DNA testing by the KSP Lab. Senters later stated that he had prior permission to destroy the items, from the Clay County Coroner and KSP DNA analyst, and that the two items were of no evidentiary value and should be destroyed.
Defense counsel for the defendants charged in case number 12-CR-59-SS-ART (conspiracy to kill a federal informant; Eli Marcum), alleged that the government had violated the Constitutional Rights of their clients when it (Senters) destroyed evidence that could have proven someone else committed the murder of Marcum.
Senters testified that he had permission to destroy the evidence from the Clay County Coroner, the KSP DNA analyst, and that a supervisor witnessed him throwing the evidence away – when, in fact, these were materially false statements, according to the indictment, and were made while under oath.
If convicted at trial, Senters could be sentenced to no more than 15 years in prison, serve a three year period of supervised release and pay a $750,000 fine. After making a first appearance yesterday afternoon, Senters was released on bond. His trial is scheduled before U .S. District Judge Karen Caldwell on October 16, 2017, in Lexington.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Randy Ream and Marisa J. Ford, and the investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The indictment of a person by a Grand Jury is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.