A former Taylor County man is charged in the murder of a Richmond Kentucky woman, the body of Sheena Baxter, 32, mother of three young daughters was recovered Tuesday evening from a storage facility in Richmond.
The storage facility was near the home of Joseph Eugene Hicks, 53, formerly of Campbellsville the ex-boyfriend of Baxter. A press conference was held at the Georgetown Police Department announcing a special grand jury had been convened and returned a six-count indictment against Hicks, including a count for Baxter’s murder.
Baxter’s body was positively identified Wednesday morning by the Frankfort State Medical Examiner’s Office through tattoos, police said. The cause of death had not been determined pending a full autopsy.
The body was discovered wrapped in plastic and could not be immediately identified. Forensic experts must work carefully with the plastic to preserve potential evidence such as fingerprints, DNA, hair and other materials.
Hicks was indicted by the grand jury on six counts including murder, first-degree robbery, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, tampering with physical evidence, criminal mischief and falsely reporting an incident. Court reports state Hicks had previously been charged in 1999 with first degree rape, which was amended to sexual assault, first degree and a charge of failure to comply with sex offender registry in 2012, as well as various theft charges.
Baxter disappeared on Valentine’s Day around 7:30 p.m., according to her family. She had stepped outside her sister’s home on Sundown Drive and never returned. Baxter had mentioned her current boyfriend might pick her up, so family members were not concerned until the boyfriend called asking for Baxter.
At 9:03 p.m. Valentine’s Day, Hicks pulled into the Speedway on Darby Drive with a gunshot wound to his wrist. He told police a large black man attempted to rob him in the Walmart parking lot and he was shot during the struggle. Police determined Hick’s story was not true and Walmart and other nearby video cameras showed Hicks never entered the Walmart parking lot.
Hicks was taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center that night but later that weekend, video cameras captured Hicks returning to his truck at Phoenix Transportation with cleaning supplies. Inside his truck police found that a bullet struck the windshield, visor and the driver’s side seat.
Sgt. Josh Bedson of the Scott County Sheriff’s Office alerted Georgetown police Hicks and Baxter once had a romantic relationship and Baxter had “Joe” tattooed on her back. Baxter’s family had expressed concern Hicks may hurt her, Bedson said according to the warrant.
On Feb. 18, Georgetown police executed a search warrant for Hicks’ 2012 Ford Focus and discovered Baxter’s black LG cell phone. Police had suspected the phone was in Hicks’ car when the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, while searching for Baxter, pinged her phone and it showed its location was at the Georgetown Police Department where Hicks’ car was impounded. Hicks is lodged in the Scott County Jail.