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Two Shelby County men arraigned Monday in Oldham County District Court on murder conspiracy, drugs and other charges also are believed to be gang recruiters, police said.
Thomas Wenz, 22, and Casey Endicott, 18, of Shelbyville were arrested Thursday by La Grange Police along with six others, all of La Grange, after an investigation into gang activity and drug trafficking.
Four of the eight, including Wenz and Endicott, were charged with murder conspiracy.
La Grange Police Chief Kevin Collett told The Oldham Era that he believes Wenz and Endicott, actually are based in Louisville and are recruiters for the gang Southside Crips, which allegedly is located in La Grange.
Collett, who did not return repeated phone calls from The Sentinel-News, told the Era that those charged had a concrete plan to stab two individuals to death and dispose of their bodies allegedly because of a drug-activity dispute.
“These individuals had a plan in place; it was not some veiled threat,” Collett said.
Wenz has a prior arrest and indictment stemming from May 2009, when he was 18 and a student at Shelby County High School. He was charged with second-degree terroristic threatening after allegedly threatening to kill other students on April 20, the 10th anniversary of the school massacre at Columbine High School. He was indicted in June by a Shelby County Grand Jury.
However, whatever became of that case is not known. There is no record of the case in the Shelby County Clerk’s office, and the only criminal record shown for Wenz in that office is a traffic charge.
Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong said he did not remember the incident, and Chief Deputy Gene Witt, who handled the case in 2009, is in training this week and not available for comment.
But law enforcement officials indicated that it seems likely the case was expunged somewhere along the way.
In Kentucky, most felonies may not be expunged, unless the person was not convicted. A crime charged as a felony but reduced to a misdemeanor would also be eligible for expungement.
Shelby County Commonwealth Attorney Laura Donnell said she did not remember the case involving Wenz in 2009, but speaking in general, she said an expungement wipes a case completely off a person’s record.
“It is as if it never existed,” she said. “It’s the judge’s decision. If he orders it expunged, an order goes out to all parties involved with the case; police agencies and court clerks are some examples,” she said, adding that the records are then ordered to be deleted, both paper and electronic.”
Officials at the Oldham County Attorney’s office said that public defenders have been assigned to Wenz and Endicott, but phone messages left the Oldham County Public Defender’s office had no immediate response.
Collett said La Grange PD is keeping the identities of the two potential murder victims confidential.
Wenz and Endicott are both charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of engaging in organized crime (criminal syndicate), one count of unlawful transaction with a minor, one count of first-degree possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Wenz also is charged with one count of criminal gang recruitment.
Others arrested with Wenz and Endicott were Roger Wilson, 19, Keaton T. Lee, 19, Felix A. Myers, 20, Donnie A. Lane, 22, Brandon L. Davis, 18 and Gabrielle Beach, 22, all of La Grange.
All eight were taken to the Oldham County Jail, where Wenz and Endicott are being held on a $250,000 cash bond, as set by Judge Jerry Crosby.
The four who were not charged with murder, Myers, Davis, Lane and Beach, all asked for a reduced bond or home incarceration, and Crosby said he would take their requests under consideration.
Oldham Era Reporter Kenny Colston contributed to this report.