The People's Tribune

Jury Finds Man Guilty of Murder in the Second Degree

Michael Allan Black was sentenced to 25 years for the murder of Alexander Koch and 10 years for armed criminal action on Friday, July 23, 2021.

Jury Finds Michael Black Guilty of Murder Second Degree

A rural Bowling Green man on trial for fatally shooting his stepson nearly four years ago has been found guilty.

After a four-day trial at the Pike County Courthouse, jurors found Michael Black, 64, guilty of the 2017 murder of his stepson Alexander Koch. Black was also found guilty of armed criminal action in addition to the murder verdict.

Koch was 31 at the time of his death.

Jurors were sworn in on the morning of July 19 and heard testimony from various witnesses throughout the trial along with arguments from Prosecuting Attorney, Alex Ellison, and the defendant’s attorney, Rex E. Bradley.

On August 18, 2017, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at 10:13 p.m at a home where both men lived on Route Y southwest of Bowling Green.

In a probable cause statement filed by the Sheriff’s Department in 2017, Black allegedly told authorities he shot Koch because he was tired of being hit by him.

Koch later died at the Pike County Memorial Hospital in Louisiana from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.

According to the probable cause statement, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department received a call from one of three juvenile children in the house to report that his parents were fighting, and his “uncle” was laying on the floor.

During the call, Koch’s mother, Janet Black, took the phone and reported that her son had been shot in the stomach by her husband.

Deputies responded to the residence off Highway Y at around 10:30 p.m. where they found Michael Black standing on a patio table smoking a cigarette with a .357 Smith & Wesson revolver tucked into the back waistline of his pants.

At the time, Sheriff Stephen Korte said that Black and Koch had been in a physical altercation earlier in the night. Black told deputies that Koch had hit him numerous times with a skateboard.

As seen in his booking photos, Black had a head wound which deputies said was bleeding when they arrived at the scene.

Koch had left the residence in his vehicle and returned 15 minutes later.

During that time, Black retrieved the revolver from a bedroom and returned to the back patio where he waited for Koch to return. He continued arguing with his stepson before fatally shooting him.

Sheriff Korte had also said Black had been drinking alcohol over the course of the evening.

Janet Black – who was called to the stand as a witness – was taken into custody on Friday morning for improper conduct after being previously warned.

Court docket entries stated, “The Court being advised on the record of the improper conduct of the witness, Janet Black, as to Jurors 7, 78 and 85 and the witness having been warned previously. The witness is ordered taken into custody and cause is set for her to show cause as to why she should not be held in contempt.”

She was set to be in court on Monday, July 26 where she was charged with Harassment 1st Degree and Tampering with Judicial Proceeding with a $50,000 cash only bond and with no contact with any juror for Michael Black’s trial.

She has a bond review hearing scheduled for August 11, 2021.

Both the prosecution and defense were unavailable for comment by the Tribune’s print deadline; however, we have included brief response from the Pike County Prosecuting Attorney, Alex Ellison.

“July 23 concluded a five-day jury trial in which Michael Black was convicted by a jury of Murder in the Second Degree and Armed Criminal Action for the 2017 killing of Alex Koch,” Pike County Prosecuting Attorney, Alex Ellison, told the Tribune. “The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office worked very hard to ensure that justice was served in this case.  We do believe that the jury came to the right decision and that there was an appropriate sentence of 25 years on the murder and 10 years on armed criminal action. We hope that this verdict can bring some small amount of comfort to those that cared for Alex Koch.”

All named subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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