Special prosecutor to review Samantha Ramsey case

BURLINGTON, Ky. - A special prosecutor has been tapped to review the death investigation of a Northern Kentucky woman shot by a Boone County sheriff’s deputy as she left a field party earlier this year.

Investigators say Deputy Tyler Brockman shot and killed 19-year-old Samantha Ramsey in April as she tried to drive away from a field party along the Ohio River with three passengers when Brockman tried to stop her to determine if she was impaired.

While the investigation is ongoing, Boone County Commonwealth's Attorney Linda Tally Smith made an official request not to review the case. She claims there's a conflict of interest that made it necessary for her to recuse herself from the matter.

On Sunday, Smith and the Boone County Sheriff's Office issued a joint statement to further address the issue.

"Boone County Sheriff Michael Helmig and I have agreed from the inception of this matter that it would be in the best interests of all persons involved, as well as the community at large, that a Special Prosecutor handle the final review of this case and presentation of evidence to the Boone County Grand Jury, if necessary," wrote Smith.

The release outlined the process by which the decision was made.

On July 14, 2014, the Office of the Boone County Commonwealth's Attorney sent a formal, written request to the Kentucky Attorney General for appointment of a Special Prosecutor in the investigation of the Boone County Deputy involved shooting that took place on April 26, 2014, on River Road in Hebron, Kentucky. 

On July 18, 2014, we received a letter from the Executive Director of the Office of Special Prosecutions appointing James M. Crawford, the Commonwealth's Attorney for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, to represent the Commonwealth in this matter.

Crawford, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Carroll, Grant and Owen counties since 1989, will determine whether Brockman should face charges or if a grand jury will make that decision.

Special prosecution requests are common in Kentucky, with 651 requests made by county and commonwealth’s attorneys from July 1, 2011, to July 30, 2013, according to information gathered by the Associated Press.

In addition to the special prosecutor, the Boone County Sheriff's Office has turned to "veteran law enforcement officers" from three local departments – the Florence Police Department, the Fort Thomas Police Department and the Campbell County Police Department – to assist in the investigation, according to Sunday's release.

"The Boone County Sheriff's Department has received the assistance of a number of law enforcement agencies since this investigation began, which is a common practice among law enforcement agencies serving the Northern Kentucky area," wrote Smith.

The officers, who've not been named, have served on an independent panel to review this investigation since early May 2014. 

Smith said the members of the panel have been meeting on their own and reviewing all of the evidence and investigative reports, and have served in an advisory capacity to ensure that all possible questions of the Special Prosecutor or the Boone County Grand Jury can be fully answered through the investigation.

Ramsey’s family has retained Gary Franke, an attorney who argues federal civil cases in Ohio and Kentucky.

Franke did not return a call for comment, but said recently that the family is declining to comment until the investigation is complete.

Crawford did not immediately return a request for comment. And similar requests for comment have been repeatedly declined by the Boone County Sheriff’s Office and Smith.

Brockman has hired Attorney Jeff Mando to represent him in any civil suit.

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