Prosecutors to seek death penalty in triple murder case

February 26, 2019

INEZ, Ky. — Eastern Kentucky prosecutors will seek the death penalty in a Martin County triple murder case.

Lance Ward, 29, of Williamson, West Virginia, is currently jailed awaiting the trial, which is not scheduled until March 2, 2020. A Martin County grand jury returned an indictment of murder charges in May 2018.

On March 23, 2018, Amber Lockhard, 31, Micah Sammons, 20, and Dereck L. James, 26, were found shot on Goff Branch, just off Route 292 in Martin County. Lockhard was still alive at the scene and died later in the hospital.

The old dirt road leads to a former mountaintop mine site where people ride ATVs and hunt.

Days later, Lockhard’s missing vehicle was found across state lines in Williamson, West Virginia.

Tony Skeans, the assistant commonwealth attorney of Paintsville, Kentucky, will serve as the chief prosecutor.

Investigators say evidence found in Lockhard’s car led to the charges against Ward.

The Williamson man was first held at the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden on other charges, but later extradited to Kentucky.