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State police review loss of money: More than $6,000 found on body of homicide victim missing in Fulton

The Paducah Sun (Kentucky)
BYLINE: Shelley Byrne, The Paducah Sun, Ky.

Fulton, KY

Jan. 4 -- FULTON, Ky. -- State police have been conducting interviews in connection with more than $6,000 missing for months from the Fulton Police Department evidence locker.

No charges have been filed, said Sgt. David Jude of the Kentucky State Police media relations division. The special investigations west division in Bowling Green is handling the case. "Of course, they're looking at all the leads that they have, trying to get as much information as they can before they go any further with it," he said.

A motion filed in connection with the case of Juana Courtney, convicted of manslaughter Dec. 10 for the death of her estranged husband, James Courtney Jr., confirms the money is missing.

Three separate law enforcement sources and a city official had previously confirmed anonymously to the Sun that the money was missing. The city official said it was discovered missing in August but could have been taken any time over several months.

The Fulton Police Department has said only that property was missing from the police department and that state police were investigating. Fulton Police Chief Terry Powell declined comment Friday, citing the open investigation.

Fulton Commonwealth Attorney Mike Stacy filed the motion Nov. 26 in Fulton Circuit Court "prohibiting the Defendant and her counsel from disclosing in any manner during the trial of this case the fact that the cash recovered from the victim's body, i.e. in excess of $6,000.00, is now missing from the evidence locker at the Fulton Police Department."

During Juana Courtney's trial, Fulton police Detective Sgt. Steven Williams testified police recovered $6,399 from James Courtney's body. No mention was made at the trial of what happened to the money.

According to the motion, Stacy asked for the information to be withheld because he believed it would be used to attempt to embarrass the police department, to attempt to paint the agency as incompetent or to plant in the minds of the jury the notion that the investigative conclusions of the department are in some way suspect "because of their loss of the victim's cash."

Stacy said he remains confident in all the Fulton police officers. "I am very confident in their system, and I have the utmost confidence in the entire Fulton Police Department," he said.

He said he is waiting to hear from state police before taking further action, but "we will prosecute whoever has committed this crime. We will not back off the case."

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