REVIEW OF THE FIRST 5 DAYS OF THE FEDERAL TRIAL AGAINST 3 BARREN COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS PDF Print
Monday, 06 May 2013 04:16

The first week of trial is over for Sheriff Chris Eaton, Deputy Aaron Bennett and Drug Task Force Officer Eric Guffey. The trial began last Monday with the selection of a jury panel of 10 men and four women with two being alternates.  On Tuesday, the first witnesses were three of the teenagers that were at Calvary Baptist Church on February 24, 2010 and were peeping through closed blinds at the events below them.  Each girl had a slightly different version of what happened that day, but they were all sure they had seen police officers beating a man.

 

The next witness on Tuesday and part of Wednesday, was former Deputy Sheriff Adam Minor.  Minor who been indicted with the other three on the first indictment, has since pled guilty to lying to the FBI. Minor admitted to kicking Stinnett and that Bennett punched him in the head with his fist. Minor also testified that Eaton, Shannon White and Ron Lafferty also struck Stinnett and he testified that Bennett struck Eaton in the leg and not Stinnett as Eaton has put in his report.  Stinnett testified that he did indeed kick Eaton in the leg.

 

Glasgow Police Office Jessie Barton was the last witness on Wednesday and he continued his testimony on Thursday.  Barton admitted that he lied to the grand jury because he didn’t want to get the others in trouble.  Barton had testified that Bennett and Minor were the two officers that had escorted Stinnett to Minor’s car that day and he was ten feet in front of them, but after googling a photo of the arrest in the Glasgow Daily Times, he realized he have forgotten that he was there.  The defense claims he changed his story because he had lied and knew the photo would prove he was in the picture and not Bennett.  Also he was asked by the defense if he had told another officer that Agent Brown told him, “You can be a teammate or an inmate.” He denied saying that.

 

Billy Randall Stinnett was brought into the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit and a long sleeve white shirt under it. The government has ten pictures, which are not going to be shown, of tattoos on Stinnett’s body several of which are Neo-Nazi tattoos. The government wanted to put a bandage over a tattoo of a swastika.  The judge ruled that they could not cover it up and the defense could not draw attention to it unless it became relevant to the case.  Also the defense could not bring up the fact that he was an affiliate of the White Supremacy Group and the Aryan Nation.

 

Stinnett testified that Eaton had struck him with a baton and doesn’t know when the handcuffs were put on him or who put them on him.   Stinnett also testified that he doesn’t remember Sheriff Eaton kicking him in the groin and he doesn’t remember that Minor hit him or pushed him down as he was walking, as Minor had testified that he had done.

 

The defense brought up his lawsuit where he was asking for 25 million and the conversation he had with his family members at the Barren County Jail that he was going to get lots of money and that Agent Brown was helping him.

 

Kelly Billingsley, father of two of the children at the church, testified that Agent Brown wanted him to collect evidence for him at the church.  Defense said he was surprise that Agent Brown would ask him to do that and Billingsley replied that he was too.  Billingsley is also the person that reported the incident to the FBI.

 

On Friday, Lynn Feese, a deacon at the Calvary Baptist Church testified that he went to church the day after the incident to check on the hole in the church and he noticed blood on the air conditioning unit and the ground.

 

Bridget Holbrook, Kentucky State Police Forensic Scientist testified about Blood Stain Patterns.  She did several tests from photos and the eye witness statements.  She concluded that Stinnett had to be near the ground from the location of the blood splatters.  But after visiting the area at the church over a year later, she couldn’t confirm it was blood.

 

Dr. Lee Carter and Nurse Mary Anderson both testified to treating Stinnett that day.  Anderson said she put nine staples in his head.  Dr. Carter said he had some bruising and no pain medication was given to him and he was able to walk out on his own.

 

Steve Runyon admitted he lied to the grand jury by saying that a knife was found on the ground near the air conditioning units per Eaton’s instructions.  He said he did so for fear of losing his job.

 

Trevor Phillips was the last witness of the day.  Phillips, former Public Relations Officer of the Barren County Sheriff’s Office testified that he deleted two pictures, one of Eaton and one of Minor because they looked bad.  He denied that Eaton instructed him to do so.

He said it was his camera, he deleted them a few days after the arrest and it was before he ever knew of an FBI investigation.

 

Court will resume at 9am today.  Prosecutors still have several more witnesses and then the defense will present their case.

 

Today is all  Administrative Professionals Day!!

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