BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - A Warren County grand jury indicted
two Scottsville men Wednesday for the murder of a Western Kentucky
University student, who was set on fire in her dormitory room.
Lucas B. Goodrum and Stephen B. Soules were each charged with
murder and/or complicity to commit murder, first-degree rape and/or
complicity to commit first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and/or
complicity to commit first-degree sodomy and arson and/or
complicity to commit arson, according to the indictment. Soules was
also charged with robbery.
Both men have been in the Warren County Regional Jail without
bond since a preliminary hearing on May 21, when Warren County
District Judge JoAnn Spinks Coleman sent the case to the grand
jury.
"I have sense of relief. I was concerned because the time was
running out," said Virginia White, aunt of Melissa "Katie"
Autry, who was found beaten, stabbed and raped on May 4.
Prosecutors faced a July 20 deadline to seek an indictment. The
12-member jury based its decision on evidence that did not include
forensics testing.
"This indictment speaks volumes," said Chris Cohron, assistant
commonwealth's attorney.
Goodrum's and Soules' lawyers did not immediately return calls
Wednesday afternoon.
Cohron said forensics testing is still being completed at a
Kentucky State Police crime lab.
Goodrum, 21, and Soules, 20, were arrested less than a week
after the death of the 18-year-old freshman. Autry died May 7 at a
hospital in Nashville, Tenn., where she was being treated for
third- and fourth-degree burns. She died three days after she was
pulled from her smoldering dorm room at Hugh Poland Hall.
Both men could face the death penalty, Cohron said. Cohron said
the state will make its decision as the case moves forward.
At the preliminary hearing, a university police detective said
Soules told authorities that he watched Goodrum - a high school
friend - beat, rape and set Autry on fire. However, the detective
noted that Soules, who was interviewed three times by police,
"increased his involvement with each interview."
Soules later told police he was having consensual sex with Autry
when Goodrum entered Autry's dorm room and forced himself upon her.
In a third interview, Soules said he had raped Autry and sprayed
hairspray on her body, the detective said. Soules said Goodrum was
the one who set Autry on fire, police say.
Court documents show that the two men attended a fraternity
party at the Pi Kappa Alpha house May 3, where friends say Autry,
who had danced at a strip club, also spent time before the early
morning fire.
Goodrum and Soules remain in jail with no bond. An arraignment
has not been set.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)