PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) -
Updated 6:00 p.m.
The sentencing of John Russell Hall was something many in the Pikeville community had been waiting for. It was an emotional day for Officer Scotty Hamilton's family and friends, along with the community.
It is something people in Pikeville had not experienced since 1950 when Sheriff Roy Conway, the father of Judy Patton, wife of former Governor Paul Patton, was gunned down in the line of duty. Two brothers, angry over Conway's crackdown on bootlegging and gambling, killed him. They were sentenced to life in prison as well.
We talked to Chelsi, Officer Hamilton's widow, who said her family will never have closure but they can begin to heal.
"But I'm glad that it's over and me and Brynlee, my daughter, can go on with our lives the best we can and that's what Scotty would have wanted," said Chelsi Hamilton.
Pikeville Police Chief Chris Edmonds said they struggled through this difficult time.
"It'll never be a closure for us neither, just a chapter ending that's got to take place and it's already took place," Edmonds continued. "We had all went up to the gravesite this morning we promised we was going to come up on the closure date and we all went up this morning and visited with him and now it's finally come to a close."
Officer Scotty Hamilton was a 12-year veteran of the Pikeville Police Department. He played basketball and football at Shelby Valley High School, where he also graduated. He married the love of his life, Chelsi, in Feb. 2013. They had one child, Brynlee Elizabeth.
The street that runs beside the Pikeville Police Department now bears his name. Scotty Hamilton also received awards for his bravery since his untimely death in the line of duty.
In Scotty's yearbook, he wrote "Live life to the fullest." Hopefully that is something his loved ones can do after Wednesday.
Updated 11:30 a.m.
John Russell Hall agreed to a life sentence without parole as part of a plea deal.
Our reporter at the courthouse said Hall showed little to no emotion during the guilty plea and sentencing, and did not apologize when given the chance.
Hall was taken to the Carter County Detention Center.
Updated 10:15 a.m.
John Russell Hall pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to killing Pikeville Officer Scotty Hamilton in March.
He also pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The judge said the Commonwealth recommended a sentence of life without probation or parole for the charge of murder. along with ten years for the firearm possession charge.
After a brief recess, the court will go back in session to continue the sentencing process.
Wednesday, the man police said killed Pikeville Police Officer Scotty Hamilton in March appeared in court.
John Russell Hall is scheduled for a pre-trial conference in the morning. We are told he may plead guilty at this appearance.
A judge still has not set a trial date for him.
Just last month, several people admitted to helping him hide from police. At least one agreed to testify against him.
We have a reporter at the hearing and will update this article with anything we learn at the courthouse.