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Newberry/Harnice Zoning Violation Trial Begins Dec. 14

Stephen Lance Denee

Thecriminal trialof former McCracken County Judge-Executive Van Newberry and his deputy begins in three weeks.  

Newberry and Deputy Judge-executive Doug Harnice were each indicted in January 2014 on charges of public misconduct, a class D felony bringing up to five years in prison.  

The charges stem from allegations of altering property zones between 2007 and 2008.  

Newberry left office in 2014, opting not to run for reelection.  

Commonwealth attorney and special prosecutor in the caseZac Greenwell says there have been many delays in setting a trial date.  Two McCracken County circuit judges recused themselves in the early days and former special prosecutor G.L. Ovey retired in the middle of the case.

“I did not even receive this case until 2015," said Greenwell. "It’s a complicated case, we basically started over at that point and got a jury trial set when we saw we couldn’t resolve it. Special judge and two special prosecutors equals time.”

Greenwell says Newberry and Harnice’s public notoriety could lead to complications in the jury selection.  

“Certainly there’s potential problems, there’s a lot of media coverage of this, that always creates a likelihood that somebody has developed some sort of opinion before they come to trial, but I believe that if we can find a jury in McCracken County then that’s where it needs to be tried,” said Greenwell.

Special Circuit Judge Dennis Foust is presiding.  

The trial begins in McCracken Circuit court December 14th.  

Greenwell says despite the trial’s complexity, he expects it to last three days.


Rob Canning is a native of Murray, KY, a 2015 TV Production grad of Murray State. At MSU, he served as team captain of the Murray State Rowing Club. Rob's goal is to become a screenwriter, film director or producer and looks to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie for inspiration. He appreciates good music, mainly favoring British rock n' roll, and approves of anything with Jack White's name on it. When not studying, rowing or writing, Rob enjoys spending his free time with a book or guitar.
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