Site of deadly shooting in Lexington was also where drug ‘mule’ was beaten by UK students

Faron Collins

A deadly shooting at a multi-million dollar home in Lexington Thursday was also the site of a brutal assault on a drug “mule” in 2017, according to court records.

Ethan Hatfield, 26, died Thursday from a gunshot wound, according to police and the Fayette County Coroner’s Office. Details surrounding Hatfield’s death were not immediately released as authorities investigate.

Hatfield, the son of Chevrolet dealer Rod Hatfield, was one of four men convicted in the 2017 assault of a drug “mule” who they were working with to traffic marijuana, according to court records. Both incidents happened at the home in the 4900 block of McAtee Lane, one of Lexington’s most expensive properties. The house owner was listed as a limited liability corporation that was led by Rodney B. Hatfield, according to public local and state land and business records.

In the 2017 case, the men assaulted the victim after he told them police seized marijuana from him during a traffic stop in Kansas. He told them he was cooperating with authorities, but the four suspects didn’t believe him and said they were assaulting him in an effort to get him to tell the truth, according to court records.

The men made the victim strip naked and robbed and beat him at gunpoint, according to court records. He was terrorized, told that his face would be blown off and that he and his family would be killed, according to narratives found in the court record. He was beaten with pliers, a hammer and a gun stock, was forced to strip naked, made to snort a Xanax pill and was robbed at gunpoint.

Hatfield and another suspect, Zachary Costin, were Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers at the University of Kentucky, according to court records.

Hatfield, who was 21 at the time he was convicted, was sentenced to five years in prison in May 2018 after he pleaded guilty to felony theft, unlawful imprisonment and misdemeanor assault.

“I’m completely and fully aware of the heinousness of this crime,” Hatfield told Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Travis in court at the time. “I feel constant guilt and remorse about this every day.”

Hatfield, who had transferred to Transylvania University, was permitted to take final exams in the spring 2018 semester before he self-reported to prison on May 23.

Months after the four men were sentenced, Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Travis granted all four men shock probation.

Defense attorneys for the four said in court papers that their clients were remorseful, that they wished to continue their education and/or return to their families, and that there was little likelihood that they would commit another criminal offense.

Under the terms of their release, the four had to complete 15 hours of community service per year, not possess any weapons and avoid any contact with their victim.

The four men did not face additional criminal charges in Kentucky following the case, according to court records.