- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 21, 2002

SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) Sam Catron was 4 years old when three thugs armed with a shotgun pulled up in front of his family's home and shot his father, the city's police chief.
His father survived for seven years until one of the shotgun pellets that had lodged near his heart shifted, killing him. The experience drove the young Catron into law enforcement himself and shaped his cautious approach to life, which included wearing a bulletproof vest wherever he went.
"I asked him once why he never got married," says friend Charlotte Davis. "He would never get married as long as he was in law enforcement. He said he never wanted a woman to go through what his mother had gone through."
Not even Sheriff Catron's closest friends ever thought someone would actually try to shoot him. After all, Miss Davis says, lightning doesn't strike twice.
But minutes after delivering a re-election speech at a political rally and fish fry last weekend, a single bullet fired from a nearby hillside killed the four-term Pulaski County sheriff who was known for his crackdown on drugs in the hollows of southeastern Kentucky.
Investigators say the killing was the culmination of a plot orchestrated by a political challenger and a former drug suspect in hopes of getting the heavily favored Sheriff Catron out of the race.
"We believe it's all politically motivated," said state police Detective Todd Dalton. "Each one of those persons had their own motivation for the murder."
Sheriff's candidate Jeff Morris, 34, and Kenneth White, 54, were arrested on charges of complicity to murder a police officer. Danny Shelley, 30, was charged as the trigger man in the April 13 slaying.
Detectives say Mr. White, who previously faced cocaine possession charges, wanted Mr. Morris to win the race so he could count on a sheriff who would look the other way.
Mr. Shelley, who was unemployed and had a record of arrests ranging from public drunkenness to assault, had a different motivation, according to detectives: a job as deputy if Mr. Morris was elected.
Mr. Shelley was arrested when he lost control of a motorcycle that witnesses saw speeding away from the shooting scene. The motorcycle belonged to Mr. Morris. And it was well known that Mr. White, who became a police informant after his cocaine charge was dropped, was bankrolling Mr. Morris' campaign.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide