Kentucky Man Arraigned In Death Of Firefighter

The man accused of killing his wife and a Lexington firefighter last Friday was arraigned on two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder Monday in Lexington District Court.

A disheveled-looking Patrick Hutchinson, 45, appeared via video arraignment sporting a black eye and cuts on his face. His bail was set at 2 million dollars, and his next court appearance was scheduled for March 26. District Judge Kevin Horne also ordered Hutchinson to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Hutchinson is accused of killing his wife, Fontaine, and Lexington firefighter, Lt. Brenda Cowan, during a domestic dispute Friday. Hutchinson then held police at bay for six hours before surrendering.

Close friends say Hutchinson has acted strangely for the past several years. They claim he rambled that "most of the human race was made up of clones." Others close to the family say he's quite a marksman, but never hunted animals. They say he would only practice target shooting.

During the standoff, neighbor Richard Parson told LEX 18 News that he had spoken by telephone to Hutchinson after the incident began. Parson said Hutchinson told him that he had "blown his wife's brains out." Parson also said Hutchinson is a delusional individual who believes people are clones.

Hutchinson later told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he shot Fontaine and then the paramedics because he was staging a coup against human clones.

"You're about to see armageddon," said Hutchinson, who spoke calmly about a vast conspiracy involving UFOs, alien clones and the CIA.

"I started with my wife," he said. "I shot her in the head. ... She's got a radio sticking in her skull."

The incident began at around 3:30 p.m. Friday. An LEX 18 News crew arrived at the scene at 8645 Adams Lane near Exit 99 off I-75 as firefighters approached. LEX 18's Angelica St. John said that as Cowan and another firefighter, Jim Sandford, bent down to help Fontaine Hutchinson, who was lying on the ground in front of a home, shots rang out from the home.

Cowan, 40, was a 12-year veteran of the department and had recently been promoted to lieutenant. Sandford was treated and released from the University of Kentucky Hospital on Saturday. A third firefighter and a police officer also suffered minor injuries in Friday's incident, neither from gunfire, said Lexington police chief Anthany Beatty.

Over the weekend, Lexington firefighters continued to mourn Cowan's death and pondered the unexpected threats they face on the job.

"You always know there's a danger there," Lexington firefighter Vicki Herald said during a break at a station Saturday afternoon. "But you expect a fire department fatality to relate to a fire incident, not a shooting. She shouldn't have died that way."

"You're not ever thinking someone's going to harm you," said firefighter Keith Powell, who attended the same Baptist church as Cowan. "You're the good guy. You're taught to render aid to those who call for help."

Assistant Fire Chief Roger Holland said authorities will conduct an internal investigation into the incident. Fire officials declined further comment Saturday, saying it was a day for mourning.

"We have protocols for each situation," Holland said. "After we're through with the investigation, we will find out whether protocol was breached."

Cowan came from a family with strong ties to her faith. Her father and one of her brothers are preachers, and she served in several of her church's ministries, said her pastor, the Rev. Richard Gaines of Consolidated Baptist Church in Lexington.

Despite the risk that entailed her job, Cowan's family supported her.

"Brenda died (doing) what she loved doing," Gaines said. "Nobody expected what happened to happen. The family is no less supportive of what she did."

Firefighter Frederick Cotton, who entered the force with Cowan in 1992, said she was an "angel on earth."

"Knowing Brenda, if she would have it to do again, she would have," Cotton said.

Gaines said a funeral will be held for Cowan at noon Wednesday at Consolidated Baptist Church.

Cowan is the third Lexington firefighter to die in the line of duty, according to Lexington fire battalion chief Jim Wells. Robert Wayne Martin died in 1986 when he fell off a fire truck, and Charles Williams, Jr., was killed in a blaze in 1997.