Rusk gets 20 years in murder for hire scheme

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

GREENUP, Ky.- An Ironton woman will spend at least 17 years behind bars before she sees a parole board - punishment for her part in a failed murder scheme.

Greenup County Circuit Court Judge Lewis B. Nichols Thursday sentenced Cynthia Rusk, 26, to 20 years in prison for her guilty plea to an attempted murder charge and 20 years in prison for her guilty plea to a first-degree burglary charge.

Since the sentences will run concurrently, she will not be eligible for parole until mid-2022, when she is 43 years old.

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Greenup County Commonwealth's Attorney Cliff Duvall said Rusk showed no emotion during her sentencing and never apologized for her actions or the pain she inflicted on her victim, Donald Clay.

"She was very matter of fact, very unemotional, used very short sentences and he (Nichols) seemed to be taken aback by her frankness," Duvall said.

Rusk is expected to testify against her cohort in the crime, Beverly Clay, 35, also of Ironton.

The two women, who were friends, allegedly plotted to kill Donald Clay, who was Beverly Clay's husband.

Rusk admitted she shot and tried to rob Donald Clay at his Lloyd, Ky., residence late last year.

She was arrested not far from the scene when Greenup County Sheriff's deputies responded to the call for assistance.

Donald Clay has since recovered from his wounds.

Beverly Clay will go on trial next spring for her part in the scheme. She is charged with complicity to attempted murder.

Public Defender Sam Weaver, who is Rusk's court-appointed attorney, was not available for comment.