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Gate City man indicted on murder charge in death of fellow inmate

Wes Bunch • Jul 10, 2012 at 10:42 AM

GATE CITY — An inmate at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield was indicted on a murder charge Tuesday for allegedly killing a fellow sex offender earlier this year during a fight at the jail.

The grand jury also handed down an indictment of attempted capital murder to a Kingsport man who allegedly tried to run over a Scott County Sheriff’s Department deputy with a pickup truck.

Shannon Isiah Bellamy, 21, of Gate City, faces a single count of capital murder in connection with the April 26 death of Jeffery Allen Kilgore, 42, of Wise.

In Virginia, capital murder carries a sentence of either life in prison or the death penalty.

Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said his office was pursuing a capital murder charge due in large part to the location of the killing.

“Certainly we looked at the case and looked at the law and fit it together,” McClung said. “That’s what it called for, so that’s what we brought. Anytime there is a first-degree murder — and that’s what we believe was done — that was done to an inmate in Virginia, it is considered a capital offense.”

Kilgore died after allegedly being hit in the head by Bellamy during an altercation in a housing unit at the jail. A medical examiner’s report determined Kilgore died of blunt force trauma to the head.

The fight occurred in a housing pod at the end of the inmates’ lunch hour. The fight lasted just over a minute and was captured on surveillance video.

Authorities said Bellamy — 6 feet 2 inches tall and 220 pounds — held a size advantage over Kilgore, who in the surveillance footage was not fighting back.

At the time of the incident, Bellamy was serving a three-year sentence following convictions for carnal knowledge of a minor and drug distribution. Kilgore was being held on a civil commitment that stemmed from a 1995 conviction for forcible sodomy of a minor.

Bellamy has been held in administrative segregation at the jail since Kilgore’s death, Maj. George Hembree with the regional jail said.

Also indicted Tuesday was Justin Luke Ketron, 32, of Kingsport, on a single count of attempted capital murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Prosecutors allege that Ketron tried to run over a Scott County deputy during a traffic stop on Jan. 27 before fleeing into Tennessee.

The deputy fired a gunshot into the front windshield of Ketron’s vehicle during his attempt to flee.

“We take these charges very seriously,” McClung said. “These officers put their lives on the line every day, and sometimes a routine stop can turn into something very scary for them.”

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