Brutal Murder Case to Be Retried in Warren County

By: Jonathan Hardison
By: Jonathan Hardison

One of the most brutal murder cases in state history will be retried this week in Warren County.

Roger Epperson, 53, was convicted in 1988 of the 1985 execution-style double shootings of Ed and Bessie Morris in Jackson County. His alleged accomplice Benny Hodge, 52, was also convicted of the murders, but his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court and a retrial ordered. Hodge was retried in October of 1996 and convicted, then sentenced to death. Because of allegations made and new evidence discovered that led to Hodge's retrial, a retrial for Epperson was ordered as well.

Both men are also on Death Row for the August 1985 stabbing death of 23-year-old UK student Tammy Acker at her father's home in Letcher County. Dr. Roscoe J. Acker, Tammy's father, was stabbed and robbed of $1.9 million dollars in the same attack.

A 1993 book entitled "Dark and Bloody Ground" created unusual publicity for the case, leading defense attorneys to request a change of venue for this retrial.

Jury selection in the case began on Monday, opening statements could come as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

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