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Judge Seay rules that Houck theft trial will be moved to Bowling Green

NC GAZETTE / WBRT RADIO
STAFF REPORT

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 — Nelson Circuit Judge Jack Seay ruled Thursday that the theft trial of Brooks W. Houck will be moved from Nelson County to Warren County.

BROOKS HOUCK

Houck was indicted last July on four felony counts of theft by unlawful taking, and one count of misdemeanor theft by unlawful taking in connection with his alleged taking of roofing shingles from Lowe’s without paying for them.

Houck’s attorneys argued that pre-trial publicity in Nelson and surrounding counties would make it impossible for Houck to receive a fair trial on the theft charges. While unrelated to the theft charges, Seay recognized the extensive media coverage about Houck as the main suspect in the 2015 disappearance of his girlfriend, Crystal Rogers, would make a fair trial difficult.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney office argued that no county in Kentucky has been immune to the state and national publicity surrounding the Rogers case and Houck’s alleged role. Judge Seay agreed; he ruled that Warren County and Bowling Green was a “reasonably convenient” location for Houck’s trial, noting that the Bowling Green market did not include Louisville TV in its local cable TV lineup.

Houck is also involved in an ongoing court case involving grandparent visitation filed by Crystal Rogers parents, Tommy and Sherry Ballard in 2015. The lower court ruled in favor of the Ballards, but the decision was later reversed by the state Court of Appeals and sent back to Nelson Circuit Court.

The first court date to hear that case is set for Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.

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