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Prosecutor Says ‘Desperate Man Trying To Hide His Crimes’ Stuffed His Girlfriend’s Body Into Trash Can. He Now Faces Life In Prison.

kentucky case
Source: Whitley County Detention Center; UNSPLASH

Jan. 31 2023, Published 3:13 p.m. ET

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A Kentucky man was found guilty of murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death of his girlfriend, whose body was found in a trash can.

Following a four-day trial, a jury in Williamsburg convicted John Phillip Meadows, 60, of the charges and recommended he be ordered to serve life plus five years when he is sentenced in March, according to the Times-Tribune.

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The publication reported the victim in the case, Donna G. Lay, was last seen alive on Jan. 7, 2021. Just over three weeks later, on Feb. 1, police searched Meadow’s property and found the woman’s remains stuffed in an outdoor trash can that was placed behind a door.

An autopsy determined Lay died from a gunshot wound to the head, and Meadow’s was arrested for her homicide.

At trial, Meadow’s public defender, Clifford Wilson, claimed the victim was domineering and pulled a gun on Meadows after she accused him of cheating on her.


Lay, the defense attorney argued in court, was fatally shot during the struggle that ensued. “Had John not acted when Donna pulled that gun, she would be the one sitting at that [defense] table,” Wilson said.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Bowling countered during trial, “Donna’s body tells what happened” and Bowling placing her in the garbage can was the act “of a desperate man trying to hide his crimes.”

Meadows was awaiting sentencing in the Whitley County Detention Center.


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