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Crime News The Disappearance of Crystal Rogers

Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis Murdered For Burglary Investigation, Says Anonymous Inmate (UPDATED)

The inmate claims Ellis was shot because "he was close to an investigation of a ring of storage shed burglaries and business burglaries."

By Aly Vander Hayden

UPDATE (March 21, 2023, 2:30 p.m.): Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron named Commonwealth Attorney Shane Young as a special prosecutor in the investigation into the the deaths of Jason Ellis, Crystal Rogers and Tommy Ballard.

The Kentucky Attorney General's office made the announcement in January 2023, just three months after Ellis' memorial was vandalized in October. Police have since offered a reward of $1,500 for information leading to the arrest of the vandal, according to local news station WDRB.

Original story follows below...

During the season finale of Oxygen's "The Disappearance of Crystal Rogers," an anonymous prison inmate spoke with reporter Stephanie Bauer and retired homicide detective Dwayne Stanton to share information he claimed to know about the murder of 33-year-old Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis. Ellis' fatal shooting in 2013 was the first of four recent unsolved cases involving five victims in Bardstown, Kentucky, including the 2015 disappearance of Crystal Rogers.

A seven-year veteran of the department and member of the K-9 unit, Ellis had just gotten off work on May 25 when he was driving home and encountered a stack of freshly cut tree limbs blocking the ramp of Exit 34 off the Bluegrass Parkway. After getting out of his police cruiser to investigate, Ellis was ambushed and shot multiple times with a 12-gauge shotgun

In the five years since Ellis’ murder, police have interviewed numerous people of interest connected with the case, but none of the leads has ever resulted in an arrest. Though the inmate's claims about Ellis' death have yet to be substantiated by law enforcement, Bauer and Stanton opened their own inquiry into the details he provided.

The inmate told Bauer that Ellis was shot because "he was close to an investigation of a ring of storage shed burglaries and business burglaries." According to the inmate, the burglarized storage units contained high-end antiques and drugs. 

The inmate also said that "at least four" men were hired by an unidentified person to carry out Ellis' murder, but the inmate did not disclose how he knew them. When asked why this information hasn't come out before, the inmate explained to Bauer that the men involved were "eliminate[d]" and someone had "tie[d] up loose ends" to keep the investigation quiet.

Bauer and Stanton later visited Ellis' family to see if they could shed light on this new information. Though they were unable to verify any of the inmate's claims, Ellis' family contended that they "always thought it was more than one person" involved in the shooting. This belief, however, has never been shared with them or confirmed by law enforcement. The Kentucky State Police say they are looking into the inmate's claims about the case. 

To learn more about Ellis and the Bardstown murders, watch "The Disappearance of Crystal Rogers" on Oxygen,com.