Woman pleads in 2018 murder of mother

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Feb. 20—A woman charged with the 2018 murder of her mother entered a guilty plea in Laurel Circuit Court last week.

Christie Elizabeth McFadden, 32, of Thoroughbred Trail in Corbin, pled guilty to murder, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse. She was recommended to serve 27 years.

"She will serve 27 years on the murder charge, five years on the tampering charge and five years on the abuse charge," said Commonwealth's Attorney Jackie Steele. "The two five-year sentences will run concurrent with the murder charge, so she got 27 years."

The case charging Joseph Craig McFadden with murder, abuse of a corpse, theft of Rose's vehicle, fleeing and evading police and tampering with physical evidence is still pending. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on March 15, although Steele said the case could be resolved before then.

"He pled guilty as well, but then had a question that put off the plea," Steele added. "We expect the case to be resolved in the next few weeks."

McFadden and her husband are charged with killing Sherry Rose, Christie's mother, in June 2018. The couple resided in Rose's home. Rose was reported missing by co-workers on June 18 after she failed to show up for work and no one had heard from her. Co-workers said Rose seldom missed work and never missed without contacting someone, which raised concern for Rose's well being.

That report prompted an investigation by Laurel Sheriff's officials. During that investigation, neighbors said they saw the McFaddens driving Rose's vehicle and had seen them carrying in cleaning supplies a few days earlier. They said they had not seen Rose in several days. Further investigation revealed blood spots outside and inside the residence in Saddlebrook Park off U.S. 25-E and American Greeting Card Road in southern Laurel County.

The McFaddens fled the area, creating several attempts by law enforcement to question them regarding Rose's disappearance. They were located several days later but only after law enforcement officials engaged in a foot chase with Joseph before he was taken into custody. Christie had provided wrong information on Joseph's whereabouts, which prompted additional charges against the two.

Once in custody, the McFaddens admitted to an argument with Rose in which Joseph slashed her neck, thus causing her death. Joseph originally said that Rose drew a knife on him. The couple then loaded Rose's body into a suitcase, placed it in the trunk of her vehicle and transported it to a rural area known as "The Farm." The McFaddens engaged the help of a friend and his son to remove Rose's body from her own vehicle and transport it in their pickup truck to an isolated area just over the Clay County line. Her abandoned vehicle and discarded body were found several days later.

The case against the McFaddens has pended in pretrial and trial stages for nearly five years — hampered in 2020 by the pandemic but still undergoing postponements, attorney changes and numerous motions and legal complexities since the McFaddens were arrested.

Steele said the case had been an ongoing one but is hopeful that Joseph McFadden's expected plea will bring the case to some resolution.

"It has certainly been a lengthy process but family members were great to help us and work with us," Steele said. "They are happy to see a conclusion to this case."

Steele reiterated that Joseph McFadden is expected to plea in the next weeks, which would give other family members closure in Rose's death.