Accused killer of 12-year-old failed polygraph test, records sho - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Accused killer of 12-year-old failed polygraph test, records show

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- The man accused of fatally stabbing a 12-year-old boy in Cherokee Park on Sept. 30 failed a polygraph test given to him by police a few days after the slaying, initially telling investigators he had nothing to do with the juvenile's death.

But Joseph Cambron, 21, later told detectives he "engaged in a physical altercation" with Ray Allen Etheridge and told them where to find the 7-inch kitchen knife he hid after killing the juvenile, according to court records filed this week. Ray died of two stab wounds, in his chest and back, according to an autopsy report.

While detectives recorded an interview in which they say Cambron admitted his involvement in the slaying, the statement was not in the initial batch of evidence filed against Cambron in Jefferson Circuit Court.

In the polygraph test, which would not be allowed to be used in a trial, Cambron denied even knowing Ray's name.

But Mid-City Mall employees say Cambron and Ray were frequently inside the library in the mall and saw them leaving together the day of the murder. Ray's mother also said she last saw Ray with someone fitting Cambron's description at the mall, according to the records, which includes 150 pages of documents, dozens of pictures of the slain boy, Cambron, the park and the knife used in the attack.

Also included in the records is an interview with Charles Meredith, Ray's mother's fiancé, and a police video of the crime scene.

In an interview with police on the day Ray was killed, Meredith told police the family had been staying in different hotels and other places.

Meredith said he couldn't think of any reason Ray would walk to Cherokee Park from Mid-City Mall.

"How you going to kill a 12-year-old kid?" Meredith asked police. "I just don't understand that."

Sarah Clay, an attorney for Cambron, declined to comment. The prosecutor in the case could not be reached for comment.

Cambron told detectives, according to information in a search warrant for a home on Goddard Avenue where Cambron sometimes stayed, that he was in the park at the time of the slaying with a young "Italian-looking" male, "a subject matching that of the victim."

Cambron told police Ray was wearing a gray hoodie, which he was found in, according to the information in the warrant.

Etheridge was found unresponsive around 4:30 p.m. in a wooded area in Cherokee Park near Hogan's Fountain by a jogger who called police. He was taken to Kosair Children's Hospital where he was pronounced dead.  

Last year, Cambron was charged as an adult with sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl. He was acquitted by a Jefferson Circuit Court jury, a case in which there were issues with allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

While investigating that case, a Louisville Metro Police Detective was told by Cambron's family that she should have a male police officer talk with him because "he gets very aggressive, very quickly."

Det. Jennifer Boyer asked some people standing in Cambron's apartment on June 7, 2013, if they were related to Cambron, according to audio of the interviews in court records.

"Unfortunately, yes," a woman responded, telling Boyer that Cambron, then 20, had been in and out of group homes, was violent and was off his medications. They said he made his own weapons, pointed a BB gun at kids in the neighborhood and had been repeatedly accused of sexually abusing children.  

The walls in his apartment at the time were filled with holes where he threw knives, partly, he said, out of boredom. His knuckles were usually skinned up because he would punch trees or walls, usually out of anger.

"If it takes out my anger, and I don't feel it at the time, I am fine with that," Cambron told police. "I try to bottle it up so I don't hit anybody else."

Cambron told police during the investigation that he had been accused of sexually abusing five children in all – three in the neighborhood where he lived and two in a state home – but that he was innocent.

In an Aug. 12, 2013, interview with Louisville police, Cambron again said he hadn't sexually abused any children.

"I'm a virgin, but I would not take my sexual energy out on no kid," he said. "That would never happen."

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