The prosecution will call more witnesses Thursday in the trial of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, Deputy Aaron Bennett, and drug task force Detective Eric Guffey. The law enforcement officers are facing federal charges of deprivation of rights and obstruction of justice relating to the arrest of a suspect and the resulting FBI investigation.
The defense spent most of Wednesday cross-examining former deputy Adam Minor, who in 2010, joined in the arrest of meth suspect Billy Stinnett following an hour-long car and foot chase.
Minor first entered a not guilty plea, but later pled guilty to one count of making false statements to federal investigators. Minor is cooperating with the government and testifying against Sheriff Eaton and the other officers.
Minor told jurors when he arrived on the scene that day, Stinnett was already in handcuffs and non-combative, although the alleged beating of Stinnett continued. Minor admitted to kicking the suspect while Deputy Bennett threw punches at his head and while Sheriff Eaton took swings at him with a baton.
Under cross-examination, Defense Attorney Guthrie True pointed out that Minor’s statements in Barren District Court and before a grand jury were vastly different from what he said on the witness stand. Minor stated he lied under oath because the sheriff told him to and he feared being fired.
When True asked Minor why he changed his story, he admitted he was afraid of going to prison and that he wanted a good deal with prosecutors. Had Minor gone on trial and gotten convicted, he could have received a nine-year sentence. Under his plea agreement, he faces no more than six months.