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11 April 2013

Progress Kentucky's Shawn Reilly Was Involved With A Huge Murder Case Less Than A Decade Ago

Jacob Conway, who sits on the executive committee of the Jefferson County, Ky. Democratic Party, told the public radio station WFPL that Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison of Progress Kentucky bragged to him about recording the meeting, which was held Feb. 2 at a newly opened McConnell campaign office in Louisville, Ky.

In October 2003, Louisville was shaken to its core when 20-year-old Zachary Scarpellini was gunned down outside his Highlands apartment. The tony and quiet neighborhood of Victorian mansions – home to residents like Ambassador Matthew Barzun and prominent businessman-turned-politician Bruce Lunsford – was rattled awake by gunfire, left terrified and in shock over such a violent crime.

The only witness at the scene other than the alleged gunman was Scarpellini’s roommate, Shawn Reilly, now Executive Director of Progress Kentucky. Reilly’s claim at the time of the crime was that he and Scarpellini were merely following someone they thought was breaking into cars. According to a report in the Bellarmine University (where Scarpellini was a student) newspaper, The Concord, investigators believed the shooting was random and the victim did not know his killer.

It would take years for the full story to unfold but local media were at the time focused like lasers.


The ensuring death investigation dragged on for months, leading to a press conference held by the Scarpellini Family on Zachary’s birthday in March 2004. The family, distraught in their grief, offered a cash reward for information.


After nearly two years of investigating, the family/estate of Scarpellini named Reilly in a civil complaint. The allegation was that Reilly and others had information about the murder that wasn’t being shared with police.

An excerpt:

3. That on or about October 12, 2003, the Plaintiff’s decedent was killed and/or murdered by the criminal use of a firearm by unknown Defendant(s) at or near the intersection of Cherokee Road and Longest Avenue, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

4. That the Plaintiff is of the opinion that the Defendant(s), Shawn Reilly, may have conspired with the unknown Defendant(s) to commit said act, or willfully aided, and/or abetted, in the commission of the act involving the use of a firearm, all deemed unlawful by virtue of KRS 411.155.

5. That on or about October 12, 2003, the negligent, careless, and/or intended conduct of the Defendant, Shawn Reilly, was a substantial factor in causing or bringing about the death of Plaintiff’s decedent.

6. That if the above allegations be proven true, then the Plaintiff states that the Defendant, Shawn Reilly, and the unknown Defendant(s) acted with such intentional malice and/or extreme and reckless conduct and/or indifference for the safety of Plaintiff’s decedent at all times material herein, that the Defendant, Shawn Reilly, and unknown Defendant(s) are liable for punitive damages.

Reilly, who says he moved to South Carolina after the murder to attend school, either did not respond to the lawsuit or was unable to be located. That led to a request for a Special Bailiff to serve him with the complaint. According to the affidavit, Reilly was believed to have had information law enforcement needed and was allegedly working to evade questions.

An excerpt:

Comes now the Affiant, who after being duly sworn states that he/she is the Plaintiff’s attorney in the above styled action. Affiant further states that they believe that process of this action cannot be executed unless a Special Bailiff is appointed due to one or more of the following reasons:

[X] Defendant has prior knowledge of this action and it is believed that they have evaded or will evade service by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

[X] The exact address of the Defendant is unknown and service will prove difficult.

[X] The Defendant has evaded service attempts through certified mail.

[X] The Defendant is in and out of the residence frequently and service will prove difficult.

A few weeks later, Reilly surfaced in Louisville on a Congressional campaign staff.

‘You won’t believe the rest’…which Page One Kentucky and Dan Riehl will have tomorrow.

Some are claiming that taping a conversation from a hallway where it was – allegedly – overheard is not a crime.  Untrue.

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 526.010:


The following definition applies in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

“Eavesdrop” means to overhear, record, amplify or transmit any part of a wire or oral communication of others without the consent of at least one (1) party thereto by means of any electronic, mechanical or other device.

Effective: January 1, 1975
History: Created 1974 Ky. Acts ch. 406, sec. 226, effective January 1, 1975.

       Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 526.020:

(1) A person is guilty of eavesdropping when he intentionally uses any device to eavesdrop, whether or not he is present at the time.

(2) Eavesdropping is a Class D felony.

Effective: January 1, 1975
History: Created 1974 Ky. Acts ch. 406, sec. 227, effective January 1, 1975.

526.060 Divulging illegally obtained information.

(1) A person is guilty of divulging illegally obtained information when he knowingly uses or divulges information obtained through eavesdropping or tampering with private communications or learned in the course of employment with a communications common carrier engaged in transmitting the message.

(2) Divulging illegally obtained information is a Class A misdemeanor.

Effective: January 1, 1975
History: Created 1974 Ky. Acts ch. 406, sec. 231, effective January 1, 1975

526.070 Eavesdropping — Exceptions.

A person is not guilty under this chapter when he:

(1) Inadvertently overhears the communication through a regularly installed telephone party line or on a telephone extension but does not divulge it; or

(2) Is an employee of a communications common carrier who, while acting in the course of his employment, intercepts, discloses or uses a communication transmitted through the facilities of his employer for a purpose which is a necessary incident to the rendition of the service or to the protection of the rights or the property of the carrier of such communication, provided however that communications common carriers shall not utilize service observing or random monitoring except for mechanical or service quality control checks.

Effective: June 19, 1976
History: Amended 1976 Ky. Acts ch. 230, sec. 1, effective June 19, 1976. — Created 1974 Ky. Acts ch. 406, sec. 233, effective June 19, 1976

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