"Hands covered in blood"; Witness in Whitley County murder case testifies in court

Published: Jul. 16, 2019 at 5:40 PM EDT
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The case against a Southern Kentucky murder suspect is moving along.

Tuesday, we learned new information regarding the murder of Vicki Conner in a court hearing for Nicholas Rucker.

Police said Rucker shot and killed Conner, then ran out of the home and remained on the run for more than a month. A state police detective and a man who lived at the home where the shooting happened both testified.

A 9mm handgun was found buried in leaves and dirt near the home of Roger Whitt, police said. Both Conner and Rucker, who were dating, were staying with Whitt while doing odd jobs and helping him with various household chores.

Whitt recalled the chilling statement he once heard Rucker make on how others made him feel.

"I think he said he could get mad enough where he could kill someone. I didn't take him literally."

Whitt took the witness stand and said he heard the gunshot. He said there were earlier arguments over someone making too much noise and making a grocery list. The shooting happened not long after that.

Whitt described seeing Rucker walk out of a bedroom after hearing the gunshot.

"And at that time, Nick come out of the bedroom, with his hands covered in blood, from about halfway down his forearm, on down," Whitt said.

Other witnesses said Rucker claimed the victim shot herself.

"Mr. Rucker, as he left, had made some statements that she had shot herself. Some witnesses present went into the bedroom and saw her laying in the floor," said one detective.

Police said Conner died of a gunshot wound to the front of the head and could tell the gunshot came at close proximity but was at least a few inches away when it was fired.

Judge Kathy Prewitt found probable cause to send the case to a grand jury, which will consider the case next month. He will remain in the Whitley County Detention Center on a $1 million bond.

"Relieved that he is going to the grand jury. There was enough to send it on. Start of a lengthy process that will hopefully end in justice for her," said Ashley Burke, Conner's daughter.

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