FBI Agents Face Cross-Examination in Federal Trial of Barren County Sheriff, Two Others

May 7, 2013

U.S. District Courthouse in Bowling Green, Ky.

Prosecutors in the trial of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton and two other southern Kentucky law enforcement agents have been calling FBI agents to the stand Tuesday.

Eaton, Barren County Sheriff's Deputy Aaron Bennett, and Barren-Edmonson County Drug Task Force Detective Eric Guffey are accused of beating drug suspect Billy Stinnett after he was taken into custody, and then lying about it to federal investigators.

The three law enforcement agents took Stinnett into custody after he led officers on a high-speed, two-county chase on Feb. 24, 2010. Stinnett has admitted he was high on meth at the time of the incident, and a mobile meth lab was found in the back of the vehicle he crashed into a Glasgow church.

FBI special agent Michael Schaffer told the court he interviewed Detective Eric Guffey twice in one day following the alleged beating of Stinnett. Schaffer says Guffey told two different stories about whether Stinnett was on the ground or standing when he was struck by officers.

Schaffer also said Guffey contradicted himself on whether or not he had help from other officers when he handcuffed Stinnett.

During cross-examination, Guffey attorney Brian Butler pointed out that during both interviews Guffey stated Stinnett was not struck after he was placed in handcuffs--an issue that has become a major theme in the trial. Earlier Tuesday, the lead FBI investigator in the case was on the stand, and took a grilling under cross-examination about how evidence was collected and how interviews were conducted.