A former Knox County Sheriff and half a dozen other law enforcement officers have been sued after a man was acquitted of murder charges last year.
William “Bill Bill” Anderson, 37 of Campbell County, Tennessee., filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in London against former Knox County Sheriff John Pickard, former deputy Derek Eubanks, as well Kentucky State Police officers Jason York, Brian Johnson, Mark Mefford, Jackie Joseph and Tyson Lawson. Anderson alleges officers framed him for the 2011 murder of Bob Wiggins in Bell County.
Wiggins’ body had been discovered five years prior in Bell County, where evidence showed his skull was smashed in with a rock, his neck slashed and that he had been stabbed 18 times.
Anderson was acquitted of the murder charges by a jury on May 25, 2016.
According to a press release from Anderson’s attorneys, Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, the suit alleges “multiple cases of egregious misconduct by the defendants, ignoring a likely suspect of the November 23, 2011 murder.”
According to the lawsuit, Anderson initially cooperated with the investigation, pointing officers to co-defendant James Sizemore, who later pleaded guilty to Wiggins’ murder. Security video from Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Corbin lead to Sizemore’s uncle, Jeffrey Gray, who paid cash for materials allegedly used to bury the body, including a shovel, flashlights and bags of salt and lime.
Anderson’s attorneys complained that Knox Sheriff John Pickard was protecting Gray, who was allegedly paying him $1,000 a month for “the right to conduct criminal activity without fear of prosecution.”
In addition to the alleged arrangement with Pickard, Gray is also a relative of Detective York’s wife.
The suit alleges Pickard fabricated evidence implicating Anderson and protecting Gray from criminal charges.
In an audio recording obtained by The Mountain Advocate from Anderson’s legal team, alibi witness David Fox, who says he was with Anderson at the time of the murder, was interrogated by Detective York and Deputy Eubanks. In the recording, loud vulgarities could be heard, as well as the sound of slapping. The audio clip of the interrogation can be found at mountainadvocate.com. Please be aware that there is graphic, violent language in the audio recording.
Anderson’s attorneys allege Detective York and Deputy Eubanks were trying to coerce Fox to change his story about Anderson being with him at the time of the murder.
In filing the lawsuit, Anderson is seeking compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees, costs against each defendant, and punitive damages against each of the individual defendants, as well as any other relief the court deems appropriate.
Anderson claims that during his four years of incarceration in the county jail, he was “stripped of the various pleasures of basic human experience, from the simplest to the most important, which all free people enjoy as a matter of right. Mr. Anderson missed out on the ability to share holidays, births, funerals, and other life events with loved ones, including his wife and five children (ages 18, 17, 15, 13 and 13), and the fundamental freedom to live one’s life as an autonomous human being.”
In April 2017, another lawsuit was brought against Kentucky State Police Detectives Jason York, Brian Johnson, Mark Mefford, Dallas Eubanks, Kelly Farris, Jackie Pickrell, Jason Bunch, former Knox County Sheriff John Pickard and Officer Derek Eubanks, and former Barbourville Police Officer Mike Broughton. Knox County and the City of Barbourville were also named as institutional defendants. That lawsuit, filed by Loevy and Loevy Attorneys at Law for Jonathan Taylor and Amanda Hoskins, alleges they were arrested for the 2010 murder of Catherine Mills of Flat Lick. Both their case were dismissed in 2016 after years of rescheduled trials and an eventual admission from Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele that “Based on the changes in the testimony of the above witnesses and the unavailability of others, the Commonwealth does not feel as though probable cause of guilt is present anymore.”