Tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse charges netted a Bainbridge man two consecutive prison sentences Wednesday in connection with an incident that occurred in a Rocky Fork Lake area parking lot on North Shore Drive in January.
Carl Lockhart, 59, Bainbridge, was sentenced to a total of 23 months in prison for his part in a Jan. 19, 2019 incident involving the death of John Peacock, 41, Hillsboro.
Lockhart was sentenced in Highland County Common Pleas Court to a 12-month prison term for tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony; 11 months for abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony; and was given 14 days credit for jail time already served.
A bill of particulars related to the case said Ervin Howard Jr., 58, Hillsboro, allegedly sold Peacock drugs while he and several others were partying in the Rocky Fork Lake area, and that after Peacock overdosed and died, Howard and two others took the body to a Dollar General parkling lot on North Shore Drive, leaving Peacock’s partially clothed body in the back seat of Peacock’s car.
Howard was charged with involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, and trafficking in heroin. He pleaded guilty to the charges on Sept. 27, 2019 and will face sentencing before Judge Rocky Coss on Nov. 6.
Billy Joe Stone, 50, Hillsboro, and Lockhart, were both charged with tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse in the case, according to court documents.
Stone was sentenced on Oct. 16, receiving the same prison sentence as Lockhart, but with 134 days credit for time served.
According to the bill, the events surrounding the case began Jan. 18, when Peacock was reportedly with Stone at Stone’s Rocky Fork Lake-area home drinking alcohol.
The two later left, and only Stone returned the following day, witnesses told police.
In that time, the bill said, Peacock and Stone went to Lockhart’s apartment on Heather Moor Trail and continued drinking with Howard and Lockhart. Witnesses told police that Peacock said he needed heroin, and gave Stone money.
Stone allegedly later went to Hillsboro with Lockhart and purchased drugs from a person at a restaurant, then returned to Lockhart’s residence and allegedly provided the drugs to Peacock, the bill said.
Peacock reportedly snorted the drugs at Lockhart’s residence and overdosed, falling backwards on the kitchen floor, with a nearby tenant telling police that at one pointthey heard a “loud thump,” and Howard later approached them asking if they could help Peacock up, which the tenant reportedly declined.
The bill said Howard and Stone allegedly carried Peacock’s body out of Lockhart’s residence and placed it in Peacock’s vehicle, then Stone drove the vehicle to the North Shore Drive and left it there, with Lockhart picking Stone up afterward.
A later report from another witness alleged that all were partying and using heroin at the time of Peacock’s death, the bill said.
The bill added that Peacock’s cause of death was intoxication by fentanyl and ethanol.
As previously reported, Peacock’s body was found by a store employee on the morning of Jan. 19.
Investigators said at the time that the condition of the body was not consistent with the environment in which it was found, saying that the crime scene appeared “staged.”
In other cases before the court of common pleas, Natoshia Nelson, 36, Greenfield and John Jennings, 49, Hillsboro, were scheduled for jury trials in their cases Monday, but both were postponed and continued until Dec. 10 at 8 a.m.
Nelson will be tried on one count of forgery, a second-degree felony, and one count of receiving stolen property, a fifth-degree felony.
Jennings court appearance is on a charge of theft by deception, a fifth-degree felony.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.