By Portia Williams
GREENUP, Ky. —At a hearing Wednesday in Greenup County District Court Judge Brian McCloud ruled the case involving the death of Mattellen Conley, 19, of Flatwoods would be handed over to a grand jury. James W. Ratliff, was charged Sept. 22 with second degree manslaughter and tampering with evidence in the death of Conley.
Greenup County Sheriff’s Deputy David BoCook, is conducting an ongoing investigation in the case told the Daily Times prosecution will be seeking elevate indictments against Ratliff, once the case reaches a grand jury.
On Sept. 19, Ratliff was driving a Polaris ATV with Conley as a passenger, when Ratliff’s former girlfriend began to chase Ratliff and Conley in a vehicle behind them. The anonymity of the juvenile co-defendant who is female in the case was maintained, due to her age. BoCook said Ratliff and the co-defendant told authorities that Conley jumped from the ATV while the vehicle was in motion.
“He (McCloud) bound over the manslaughter second degree charge and tampering with physical evidence to the grand jury,” BoCook said. “Now when we get to the grand jury, we will be seeking indictments for man slaughter in the first degree, so we will be increasing it from manslaughter second, to manslaughter first, and with the tampering with physical evidence.”
Further evidence was revealed by BoCook during the course of the hearing, including a call BoCook said was made by juvenile co-defendant which was edited to keep the juvenile’s identity hidden. Video clips of interviews performed with the Ratliff, as well as clips from interviews with Tyler Brown and Brown’s girlfriend, and Eli Clark, three individuals that had direct communication with the defendant and co-defendant during the time that Conley died.
Additional evidence was discussed consisting of messages exchanged on Snap Chat, Facebook posts, and text messages.
Conley’s body was found lying in the road in the 10,000 block of Ky. 784 on Sept. 19, 2015. An autopsy performed on Conley’s body concluding that a fractured skull was the cause of death.
McCloud set Ratliff’s bond was set $25,000, or $50,000 if property were to be utilized.
Immediately following the hearing, Ratliff was taken into custody, and booked in the Greenup County Detention Center.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.