Grand jury will soon hear details in Joseph Cunningham’s murder trial

A grand jury will soon hear details on what led to the death of Gary Lambert.

Joseph Cunningham is accused of shooting Lambert in the head and then dumping his body near an abandoned home in Possum Trot, Kentucky. He’s has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

On Wednesday, Cunningham was in Marshall County for a preliminary hearing. Detective Matt Hilbrecht took the stand as a witness for the prosecution. He says Cunningham admitted to killing Lambert in self defense while trying to sell him a gun.

"He was returning back to the truck when he observed what he believed to be a pistol that the victim was holding in his hands," says Hilbrecht. "He could see it, it was kind of partially covered. He stated he had been robbed before in the past, he felt like he was going to be robbed again, so he picked up the 20 gauge shotgun and shot the victim."

In an interview, Cunningham tells detectives he thought Lambert’s pistol was loaded.

"In fact, in the interview he gets a little emotional when he starts describing that once he checked the pistol it was empty, and he said ‘I guess he was just going to show it to me.’"

Hilbrecht says the two men met at a strip club in Paducah. Surveillance video shows they left together in Lambert’s truck, but only Cunningham returned in the vehicle. He was still driving it when he was pulled over in Jefferson County, Illinois. In the passenger seat was Cunningham’s girlfriend, Kristy Keener.

Detectives say they’re still trying to figure out if Keener was involved in Labert’s death. She currently faces three charges in Illinois: possession of a stolen fire arm, unlawful possession of weapon by a felon and retail theft. Her pretrial hearing is set for May 5 in Jefferson County.

Keener and Cunningham are also facing charges in McCracken County, including arson.

A Marshall County judge set Cunningham’s bond at $1 million cash.

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