Supreme Court upholds convictions in sensational cases

Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Kentucky Supreme Court Thursday upheld the murder conviction and sentence of life without parole given Michael Anthony Holloway after he killed a woman he met over the Internet.

Holloway was convicted of kidnapping, robbing and murdering Stacy Dodson, 25, of Barren County in the summer of 2002. Holloway and Dodson met over the Internet and she began traveling to Louisville to see him.

According to court records, Holloway hatched a plot to kill Dodson in order to steal her car to use in a robbery he had planned. Her body was found in a Jefferson County park with a single gunshot wound to the head.

"Holloway received a fundamentally fair trial," said the unanimous opinion of the court.

The court was also unanimous in upholding the conviction and life sentence given Wilton Lane Westerfield for the kidnapping and other crimes that followed his abduction of a mother and daughter from a Kmart parking lot in Bowling Green in February 2002.

Westerfield was a registered sex offender from a previous conviction in Florida who was living in Warren County.

He forced his way into their car at knifepoint and assaulted and sexually abused the mother before she and the daughter escaped.

Westerfield was later arrested in South Carolina.

In a separate ruling, the court said Ruben Rios Salinas can be subjected to the death penalty at the retrial of the charge that he shot retired Lexington firefighter Aubrey "Al" Nuckolls, 63, in 1998.

The high court overturned Salinas' original conviction, saying he had been unfairly portrayed as a "Mexican hitter" for the Mafia.

Salinas is scheduled to go to trial again on Thursday.

At the first trial, Salinas said that he shot Nuckolls in self-defense after Nuckolls threatened him with a gun, demanding repayment of a $4,000 debt.

Salinas was convicted of murder and kidnapping, after he apparently made ransom demands of the Nuckolls family.

In fact, Salinas admitted stuffing Nuckolls' body in the trunk of Nuckoll's car and leaving him for a month on a Jessamine County farm.

The original jury recommended a sentence of life without parole for Salinas, but prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty during a retrial. The high court unanimous rejected arguments from the defendants that the prosecution should not be allowed to seek a death sentence given the earlier jury recommendation for life.