HAZARD – The grand jury is set to hear evidence against a man accused of shooting and killing three people at Hazard Community and Technical College last week.
Dalton Lee Stidham, 21, of Bulan, allegedly used a semi-automatic pistol he purchased earlier in the day to shoot and kill 20-year-old Caitlin Cornett, 53-year-old Jackie Cornett, and 12-year-old Taylor Cornett on the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 15. The incident took place in the parking lot of the First Federal Center, located at Hazard Community and Technical College.
Stidham, also known as Dalton Miller, confessed to the shooting and was placed under arrest at 10:53 p.m. on Jan. 15, according to the arrest citation and testimony given in court this week. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on Jan. 16, and his case was sent to the grand jury during a preliminary hearing held in Perry District Court on Tuesday.
It was during Tuesday’s hearing that Major James East testified that he interviewed witnesses following the shooting, including one woman who described what she saw as the incident took place.
“She said she saw someone in the parking lot shooting,” East testified. “She said he (the shooter) looked straight at her.”
Major East also interviewed Stidham at the Hazard Police Department, during which Stidham told police that he had arrived at the college to exchange his child with Caitlin Cornett. It was then, East testified, that Stidham admitted to firing several shots with a Glock semi-automatic pistol. A total of 14 shell casing were recovered at the scene.
“He said he saw her (Caitlin Cornett) exit the vehicle, walk towards the back part of the vehicle,” East testified. “He advised me that he exited his own vehicle, walked toward the front of the vehicle that she had exited, and began firing into the front driver’s seat of that vehicle. He then turned his attention … to her, as she was out of the vehicle, and started firing toward her. He said then he saw someone moving in the back seat of the vehicle, and he started firing into the back seat.”
East said Stidham later told him that alleged mistreatment of his son was a motive in the shooting, claiming that his son told him earlier that “they’re being mean to me, they’re whopping my ass.”
“He said he couldn’t take them being mean to his son,” East said.
Stidham is currently lodged in the Leslie County Jail without bond, facing three counts of murder, one related to domestic violence. According to jail officials in Hazard, Stidham has declined all media interviews.