Kentucky police seek murder suspect they say cut off ankle monitor and fled

James W. Gentry Jr., 46, was awaiting trial in the 2018 shooting death of Keith “Joey” Hayes Jr., 35, whom police said they found riddled with gunshot wounds in late November of that year in Christian County.

James W. Gentry Jr., 46, was awaiting trial in the 2018 shooting death of Keith "Joey" Hayes Jr., 35, whom police said they found riddled with gunshot wounds in late November of that year in Christian County.

James W. Gentry Jr., 46, was awaiting trial in the 2018 shooting death of Keith “Joey” Hayes Jr., 35, whom police said they found riddled with gunshot wounds in late November of that year in Christian County. (Hopkinsville Police Department)

He was due back in court Tuesday morning but fled rather than show up, according to state police.

NYC MURDER CAUGHT ON VIDEO IN BROAD DAYLIGHT

Gentry allegedly told state troopers in 2019 that he was present when Hayes was shot multiple times on Nov. 27 2018, according to the Kentucky news radio station WHOP.

The victim had been reported missing a day earlier – and Gentry was listed as the last person to have seen him. 

The two had purportedly met up so Hayes could sell Gentry a ring and they could plot another alleged crime, according to the station.

James W. Gentry was wearing dark pants and a red shirt or jacket. Surveillance video showed him walking with another man before getting into a dark-colored, four-door pickup truck at a Circle K gas station.

James W. Gentry was wearing dark pants and a red shirt or jacket. Surveillance video showed him walking with another man before getting into a dark-colored, four-door pickup truck at a Circle K gas station. (Hopkinsville Police Department)

Gentry later allegedly pawned the ring for $ 900 and led investigators to a barn on Buffalo Road in Trigg County where they found the body.

He reportedly claimed two other men had killed Hayes in a drug deal gone awry.

Gentry is described as 6 feet tall and weighing about 170 pounds. His last known location was at the intersection of Coxmill and Wooldridge roads in Hopkinsville, according to local police.

James W. Gentry may be traveling in this pickup truck or a gold Buick Regal, police say.

James W. Gentry may be traveling in this pickup truck or a gold Buick Regal, police say. (Hopkinsville Police Department)

He was wearing dark pants and a red shirt or jacket. Surveillance video showed him walking with another man before getting into a dark-colored, four-door pickup truck at a Circle K gas station.

State police later said he may have gotten into a gold Buick Regal headed south.

Gentry is considered dangerous and may be armed. In addition to the murder charge, he has also been charged with robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Anyone with information on Gentry is asked to call Hopkinsville police at 270-890-1300 or Kentucky State Police at 270-856-3721. Anonymous tips can be made at 1-800-222-5555.

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