Bruner’s trial date set for Sept. 30

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Monroe, Stump, get new court dates

By Lisa King

Three people in high profile court cases received new hearing dates in Shelby Circuit Court on Monday, including Mark Bruner, who is charged with the brutal beating in 2011 of a woman left by the side of the road.


Bruner will return to Shelby Circuit Court on Sept. 9, and his jury trial on charges of first-degree assault is scheduled for Sept. 30. His trial, previously set for March, had been postponed because some needed paperwork was not in place, but that situation has been corrected.

Bruner’s public defender, Melanie Lowe-Stratton, since has told Shelby Circuit Judge Charles Hickman that her office has received all the medical records they were awaiting from the woman he is charged with assaulting, Denisse Escareno, who now lives in Arizona.

“Everything is in from Arizona,” she said, adding that the discovery portion of the case has been completed.

Bruner, 38, of Taylorsville was indicted last year by a Shelby County Grand Jury on charges of first-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence against him in connection with the beating of Escareno on Nov. 5, 2011.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree assault, a Class B felony, punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison.

Bruner was arrested 10 days after Escareno, 24, was found beaten, stabbed and barely alive by passersby on the side of Mount Eden Road, about 2 miles south of Interstate 64.

Escareno, 24, was in a coma at the University of Louisville Hospital until Christmas Day 2011, when she opened her eyes. She has remained unresponsive, however, and was taken home to Arizona in February 2012 by her mother, Norma Zapien, who said doctors told her that her daughter never would recover mental awareness.

Police have said Bruner had picked up Escareno in his truck while she was walking to a cellular-phone store on that Saturday afternoon and that she left the store with him. They haven’t said why he might have beaten her.

Detectives said in court that Escareno was stabbed in the chest and hip area with a screwdriver. Her other serious injury was a deep indentation in the area of her right eyebrow, which, they said, she could have received by jumping from Bruner’s vehicle.

Bruner remains lodged at the Shelby County Detention Center.


Monroe returns in 2 weeks

Meanwhile, Lonnie Monroe, 45, of Shelbyville, charged with manslaughter, received a new court date for Aug. 19 for a disposition hearing. Monroe was arrested Sept. 24 by Kentucky State Police and charged with murder in a tractor-trailer accident from November 2011 in which a passenger in his truck was killed,

Within two weeks, that charge was amended to second-degree manslaughter, which is a Class C felony that carries a penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison.

Monroe also is charged with DUI in a commercial vehicle.

Kentucky State Police spokesperson Ron Turley said that Monroe was under the influence of methamphetamines when the accident occurred.

The crash happened at shortly before noon on Nov. 9, 2011, at the intersection of Fisherville and Veechdale roads. Monroe was driving a 1992 Ford tractor truck, pulling a trailer westbound on Fisherville Road, when he tried to pass a U.S. Postal Service truck that was stopped to deliver mail at a residence.

Monroe lost control of the vehicle on the side of the road and overturned, striking some small trees and a fence. His passenger James Jacob, 38 who lived on Cherry Lane, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Turley said he does not know why it took so long to bring charges in the accident.

KSP Vehicle Enforcement Officer Steve Oliver said that he does not know if Monroe knowingly ignored the law concerning commercial vehicles or if he just didn’t realize his truck fit the requirements for a commercial vehicle.

“Some of the smaller trucks don’t normally fall under the guidelines of a commercial vehicle, but if they are pulling a trailer [which Monroe was], then that would make it commercial,” he said.

Oliver said DUI penalties in commercial vehicles are harsher than in passenger cars.

The legal limit for drivers of commercial vehicles (.04) is only half that for passenger cars (08).


Jessie Stump

Jessie Allen Stump, 61, of 110 Ada Ave. in Shelbyville, indicted last summer with multiple counts of sexual-related offenses against two female children who are related to him, has been scheduled for a disposition hearing for 10 a.m. next Wednesday.

He had been scheduled to face those charges in a jury trial in March, but the trial was postponed.

Stump was indicted in July 2012 on two counts each of first-degree rape and incest of two children for which he was babysitting.

The offenses occurred in September 2003 and April 2012 in Shelby County.

Kentucky State Police Detective Ben Wolcott said Stump has a history of the same type of sexual offenses, dating back to 1987 in Jefferson County.