First defendant in 2019 fatal shooting into home to go to trial in March

  • In US
  • 2023-01-28 04:59:00Z
  • By Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.

Jan. 27--------

The first of two Owensboro men charged in a 2019 fatal shooting on West Eight Street is scheduled to go to trial in March.

Damartez D. Thruston, 22, homeless, was charged with murder in the March 12, 2019, death of Kevin D. White, 33, of Hopkinsville. White was shot through the window of a home in the 1000 block of East Eight Street. The home was known as a party house where people would play cards and pool, Owensboro Police Department officials said previously.

Talen M. Johnson, 22, of the 700 block of Walnut Street, was also charged with murder in the incident. Court records say: "The evidence in this case is strong and supports the theory that Johnson was the driver ... while Thruston was the actual trigger man whom fired multiple rounds into the residence, resulting in the death of Kevin White."

Court records say investigators believe White was not the intended target of the shooting. Instead, the target was a man who claimed affiliation with the "Gangster Disciples" gang, while Johnson claimed to be a member of the "Bloods," records say.

"Prior to the shooting, the Bloods and Gangster Disciples had been feuding in our local area and have been persons of interest in many of the local shootings," a 2020 court document says.

Thruston's trial is set for March 31 in Daviess Circuit Court.

Johnson appeared in court Wednesday. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Van Meter said Johnson's trial date is scheduled for Nov. 27. But Johnson has two pending cases, and both are currently scheduled for the same day.

Johnson was indicted by the Daviess Grand Jury in March 2019 on a charge of first-degree assault (domestic violence). Johnson was charged for allegedly causing abusive head trauma to his infant daughter during a Oct. 14, 2018, incident. Emergency responders arrived at a home in the 4000 block of Carpenter Drive to a report of an infant gasping for air.

Reports say Johnson was with the infant and told investigators he had left the room to get a diaper, returning to find the infant limp and unresponsive. A examination of the infant at Kosair Children's Hospital found the infant had a possible leg fracture and head injuries "diagnostic of abusive head trauma," court records say.

Johnson was arrested on the assault indictment the day after the shooting, and the grand jury indicted Johnson in connection with White's death in June 2019.

Van Meter said he would determine later whether the November trial date will be for the murder charge or the assault charge.


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