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Who Killed Jason Ellis? New Details On Unsolved Murder Of Kentucky Police Officer

Photo: bardstown police department
Who Killed Jason Ellis? New Details On Unsolved Murder Of Kentucky Police Officer

When murders go unsolved for long periods of time — months, years, sometimes even decades — it leaves communities in shambles, particularly investigators and the family of the victim. But when it’s one of your own, especially for a police force, it can complicate things on a much bigger level. And authorities have been left without closure for six years now.

Who killed Jason Ellis? On May 25, 2013, around 2 or 3 AM, Ellis, a police officer in Bardstown, Kentucky, was killed on his way home from work. He stopped along Exit 34 on the Bluegrass Parkway to clear debris from the exit ramp, and was shot multiple times. Police say the debris was deliberately placed there, and that 33-year-old Ellis may have been a planned target.

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For one of Ellis’ colleagues and best friends, Sgt. Michael Medley, it’s a night that continues to haunt him. A few hours after his last encounter with Ellis, he heard a voice on the police radio say “Officer down.”

At first, he thought the radio had picked up a signal from a neighboring town but eventually realized it was closeby. He drove to the Exit 24 ramp and was one of the first responding officers to see Ellis lying dead in the road.

Photo: YouTube

According to Medley, “It was a hard time there for about a year, year and a half. It was really rough.” Police Chief Kim Kraeszig also remembers getting a call that night about the murder. “It’s something that they don’t get over. The image of seeing your best friend, your best partner... it never goes away,” she said.

Ellis’ funeral was attended by more than 1,000 law enforcement members and people in the community. But there are still unanswered questions.

State investigators initially received dozens of tips, interviewed individuals that Ellis had arrested, and tracked down leads all across the country. Police offered $200,000 in reward money and made a video asking for the public’s help.

Two years after the murder, Ellis’ wife, Amy, made a second video, pleading for answers. “His family, our two sons, his wonderful friends and I cannot heal without knowing who and why he was taken from us by this senseless murder,” she said.  

Just last year, state police hired two retired officers to focus on the case full-time, as well as some other unsolved cases in the area. Scotty Sharp, a spokesman for the police, said they continue to receive tips, but “Our main focus is Officer Ellis’ family. We want to solve this case for them and bring this person to justice and find out why they did this. We want closure.”

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Though his case remains unsolved, his community continues to carry on his memory.

There are always flowers at the exit ramp, laminated photos of Ellis on the front doors of the Bardstown Police Department, his uniform lays on a black bourbon barrel, and a long corridor wall was dedicated to him, which includes photos. One of the photos is of a smiling Ellis in his uniform, a photo that has been printed onto cards that Medley carries with him and hands out to people who may have information.

His name is also carved into a black column next to the building, along with the names of other fallen officers, and a memorial was held last May. His wife spoke at the dedication, saying, “I have spent the last five years trying to find myself again, trying to climb out of the fog of grief and PTSD that comes with having your husband murdered, trying to raise two boys the best that I can.”

Photo: Courier Journal

But one thing is for sure: the person who killed Ellis seemed to know the route he took home and when he’d be traveling on it.

The area also provided good cover, as it was located between rock walls covered in brush. And Ellis’ focus on drug users and dealers and domestic violence situations may reveal the kind of person authorities are looking for.

According to an anonymous inmate, who spoke with reporter Stephanie Bauer and retired homicide detective Dwayne Stanton about Crystal Rogers’ disappearance, revealed that he knew something about Ellis’ murder. He claimed that the police officer was murdered because “he was close to an investigation of a ring of storage shed burglaries and business burglaries.” The storage units contained high-end antiques as well as drugs.

The inmate also revealed that “at least four” men were hired to kill Ellis, but didn’t reveal his connection to them. Bauer and Stanton asked him why this information wasn’t revealed sooner and he said the men involved were “eliminated” and someone had “tied up loose ends” to “keep the investigation quiet.” Both Bauer and Stanton were unable to verify the inmate’s claims.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.