Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog. The Journalist's name and "Source" link follow each story. We add "Tags" based on facts from the article, which are used for later retrieval, if someone wants to see all stories by a tag (Click tag of choice). Tags are at the top of story.
Our Commenting Policy

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lexington Police Investigate Murder Of Convicted Sex Offender

12-6-2003 Kentucky:

Police were investigating the murder of a 78-year-old man found dead in his home Friday night.

Fayette County Chief Deputy Coroner Steve McCrown pronounced Joseph Pilger dead around 7 p.m. An autopsy found the cause of death to be multiple blunt force injuries, McCrown said.

Pilger, a 78-year-old convicted sex offender and retired catholic priest, was found murdered inside his Lexington home.

Pilger pleaded guilty in the early 90s to sexually abusing five boys he met through the church while working in the western part of the state. That abuse happened in the 1960s.

Neighbors say Pilger had a young man living with him for the last month, but that man's whereabouts now are not known. Pilger's car is also missing.

Police are looking for a suspect. ..more.. by WAVE 3 TV


Priest Murder Suspect in Court

12-23-2003 Kentucky:

The man charged with the murder of a lexington priest appeared in court today. Jason Anthony Russell, 26, was arrested in Ironton, Ohio last week.

Lexington police obtained an arrest warrant for Russell last week from Fayette County District Court. Russell is charged with the murder of 78-year-old Joseph Pilger, who was found dead in his southeast Lexington home on Dec. 5. The Fayette County Coroner's office ruled Pilger died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries.

Police say Russell had stayed with Pilger at some point, but didn't know if Russell was living with the priest at the time of the murder. Russell, who was convicted in Henderson County in July 1997 of second-degree robbery and first-degree criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, finished a prison sentence on Oct. 13, state Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Lamb said. Police recovered Pilger's car, which was reported missing, on Dec. 5 in the area in southern Ohio near where Russell was arrested.

Pilger pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in 1995 for abusing three brothers and their cousin in 1968 and 1969, when he was their pastor in Morganfield in western Kentucky. The victims were younger than 15 and serving as altar boys at the parish. ..more.. by WKYT TV


Lexington man gets 30 years for killing pedophile priest

10-22-2005 Kentucky:

A Lexington man who fatally beat a retired priest and convicted sex offender with a pickax was sentenced to 30 years in prison after a judge received a letter from four of the cleric's victims.

Fayette Circuit Judge Gary Payne could have given Jason Anthony Russell, 28, life in prison without parole for murdering the Rev. Joseph Pilger, 78. Russell avoided a possible death sentence by agreeing last month to life without parole.

Under the sentence handed down Friday, Russell would be eligible for parole in 25 years.

The judge received a letter from Michael Long, now of Austin, Texas, that said Russell had "done a society a favor" by killing a "pedophile monster that preyed upon innocent little boys while in a position of authority and calling him self a man of God."

Long also wrote on behalf of three relatives who were also molested by Pilger.

"The damage a pedophile inflicts on young children is life-changing and lifelong," Long said in his letter. "The entire emotional and developmental wiring as a child is changed forever. Pedophiles are nothing but human debris. I have, for years, wished to do what Mr. Russell did."

In 1995, Pilger pleaded guilty to abusing four boys in Western Kentucky when he was their pastor during the late 1960s at St. Francis Borgia Roman Catholic Church in Sturgis. In exchange for the confession, prosecutors recommended probation.

Long, who sued Pilger in the early 1990s, wrote that he now regrets not fighting the plea deal.

"If we would have been more adamant about his sentence, we would not be writing you now, and Mr. Russell would not be where he is as well," Long said. "So you see, even now after his death, I still feel guilt."

Pilger was found dead on Dec. 3, 2003.

Russell, who alleges he was sexually abused as a child, had been released from prison about two months before the slaying and lived with Pilger.

Russell has said he decided to kill him after the retired priest offered $5,000 to have sex with Russell's then-6-year-old son. Russell also claims that he had twice walked in on the retired priest masturbating with photos of Russell's son and catalog clippings of other children.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn objected to the judge's sentence. "You have put us in a situation of knowing our recommendations are meaningless," Red Corn said. "And in a position of making it difficult to make recommendations in the future."

The judge said he agreed with prosecutors that a harsh sentence was appropriate, but not necessarily life in prison. "Knowing the facts, knowing everything involved, at least what little I know, I don't think that is an appropriate sentence," Payne said.

State law does not require judges to abide by recommendations from juries or, in the case of guilty pleas, prosecutors. They frequently accept them, however. ..more.. by Associated Press

Man Claims He Killed Lexington Priest In 1993


It's been eight years since a man was sentenced to decades in prison for the murder of a former Lexington priest. Now, another man has written a letter to LEX 18, saying the wrong person was convicted.

Andy Turner, who's serving time in Eddyville for writing cold checks, wrote a five-page letter to LEX 18 taking responsibility for the 1993 murder of Joseph Pilger. It's a crime that Jason Russell already admitted to in 2005, and we talked to him right after his guilty plea.

The five page letter that was sent to LEX 18, the Governor's Office, Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson, the Innocence Project and Lexington Police's Homicide Unit, is titled: My Complete Confession.

Lexington Police and Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson confirm they received a copy of Turner's letter and they're looking into it, which is standard procedure.

In the letter, he writes that he had a sexual relationship with Pilger, who also supplied him pills. But when he got the feeling the 78-year-old was cutting him off, he writes that he grabbed a pick axe out of the garage and went back to the TV room. There, he hit Joe in the face, head, stomach and chest. Eight or nine times altogether, and stood there breathing hard realizing what he'd done.

But what makes this a little more complicated, is that Jason Russell, plead guilty to killing Pilger in 2005.He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He claimed he killed Pilger after catching him masturbating to photos of his 6-year old son.

"I have a hatred for people who mess with kids, there's been a lot of sexual abuse throughout my life," Russell said in an interview with LEX 18 just after he plead guilty to the charges.

Turner claims Tussell took the blame because he'd threatened his son. For that, Turner says he's sorry, and it's time for him to come clean.

Larson says to remember that Russell took full responsibility for the crime already and is serving a 30-year sentence for it. ..Source.. by

No comments: