Ex-Kentucky detective headed to prison for role in wrongful convictions

Published 10:05 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2021

A former Kentucky detective has been sentenced to a year in prison for his role in the wrongful convictions of two men, one of whom spent nearly a decade behind bars before being exonerated.

Former Louisville Detective Mark Handy agreed to a plea deal Tuesday on charges of perjury and tampering with evidence and Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens sentenced him to one year in prison under a plea bargain that prohibits him from seeking probation, news outlets reported.

The action came after Judge Stevens rejected a proposed deal in August that included no prison time for Handy. The judge said one of the victims, Edwin Chandler, supported the new plea deal.

In that case, Handy admitted he testified untruthfully at trial about something he said Chandler told him about the case.

Chandler, who spent nearly 10 years in prison before being exonerated in 2009, was convicted in 1995 in the robbery and slaying of a convenience store clerk, but fingerprint technology later identified another suspect, who is currently facing charges.

Handy’s lawyer, Brian Butler, told news outlets his client did not mean to send innocent people to prison. “He said something that wasn’t true,” Butler said of Handy’s testimony in Chandler’s trial, “and the result was tragic.”

Butler did not address the case of Keith West, who was convicted of manslaughter and spent seven years behind bars after Handy taped over a recording of a witness in that case.