Youth basketball ref assault case will go to grand jury

Keyon Menifield appears for a preliminary hearing in McCracken County on April 23, 2019.

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — The case of a Michigan man accused of assaulting a youth basketball referee at the Paducah Regional Sports Plex will go to the grand jury.

Keyon Menifield of Flint, Michigan, was at a travel tournament at the sports plex on April 6 when McCracken County Sheriff’s Department deputies said he got into an argument with referee Kenny Culp. Deputies said when Culp turned to walk away from Menifield, Menifield punched him — knocking the referee unconscious. Menifield left, and he was arrested at a local hotel.

Menifield was first charged with assault of a sports official — a misdemeanor — and later released. But Culp’s injuries were severe enough that he had to be taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and Menifield was charged with second degree assault — a class C felony. Menifield was rearrested in Paducah on April 16 when at a court appearance for the misdemeanor charge. The warrant for the felony charge says doctors told investigators Culp suffered a broken collar bone, a fractured sinus cavity and brain trauma.

Menifield was back in court Tuesday, April 23, for a preliminary hearing on the felony charge and a continued first appearance for the misdemeanor. The judge found there was probable cause to send the case to the grand jury.

During the hearing, prosecutors presented a warrant out of Indiana alleging Menifield had assaulted a hotel worker because he was unhappy with their service. After considering that evidence, the judge denied a motion to reduce Menifield’s bond.

Menifield remains in the McCracken County Jail.

Culp returned home from the hospital on April 15. Doctors said the brain injury he suffered could have lasting effects.

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