Posted: May 10, 2005 10:36 am EST

Three plead not guilty to selling baby (~11 col. in.)
by Fred Petke, TheTimes-Tribune, Corbin, Ky.
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    By Fred Petke
    CNHI News Service


    CORBIN, Ky. - Jessica Cornett’s mother said Monday her daughter was tricked into selling her 10-month-old daughter.
    The attorney for Cornett’s boyfriend, Kenneth Couch, said he couldn’t sell anything that wasn’t his.
    The Michigan woman accused of purchasing the child had already started the adoption process for the child, her lawyer said.
    All three pleaded not guilty to charges of selling or purchasing the baby Monday morning in Whitley Circuit Court.
    The stories about what happened when Couch and Cornett allegedly sold her 10-month-old daughter to Kimberly Michelle Brick of Chase, Mich., are as plentiful as defendants in the case.
    “(Brick) came to Kentucky in good faith,” her attorney Ron Reynolds said. “She heard through a family member this baby was available for adoption. She had started the process.”
    Reynolds said he obtained documents from Brick’s Michigan attorney to indicate she was adopting the child. The plan also called for Couch and Cornett to move to a nearby community in Michigan, to which she gave the couple $5,000, Reynolds said.
    Couch’s attorney Warren Scoville said his client had no interest in the child and couldn’t sell it if he wanted to since he is not the father.
    “It’s hard to sell something you don’t own,” Scoville said.
    Cornett’s mother Kaye Ball claims her daughter was afraid of Couch and that he coerced her into signing papers giving Brick permission to take the child to the doctor, if necessary.
    Couch’s attorney disagreed.
    “That’s baloney,” Scoville said.
    Cornett expected to get her child back after two weeks, Ball said.
    “I don’t believe that for a minute,” Ball said of Scoville’s statements. “They’re trying to put all the blame on her. It’s not his child.”
    Cornett knew nothing of any money changing hands, Ball said.
    “My daughter’s scared of (Couch),” Ball said.
    While Brick is free on bond, Couch and Cornett are still in the Whitley County Detention Center on unrelated misdemeanor charges after failing to get their GEDs as part of their probation.
    Reynolds said Brick was trying to give a child a better life, not to purchase it from its mother.
    “They were trying to take a disadvantaged child and give it a good home,” Reynolds said. “I know it looks bad, but when the jury hears the whole story, she’ll be vindicated. I don’t think she crossed the line.”
    All three are due back in court July 19.

    Fred Petke writes for The Times-Review in Corbin, Ky.

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