WKU Public Radio News Staff
Thu May 9, 2013
Jury Convicts Barren County Sheriff, Acquits Two Other Officers
A jury has found Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton guilty on two counts of witness tampering stemming from the arrest of a suspect who claims he was beaten. The same jury Thursday night returned not guilty verdicts for two other law enforcement officers.
After eight hours of deliberations, a jury acquitted Eric Guffey on all four counts against him. Guffey helped subdue suspect Billy Stinnett who led Barren County officers on a dangerous car and foot pursuit on February 24, 2010. The officers were accused of using excessive force and covering it up to the FBI. Louisville Attorney Brian Butler represented Guffey and called the accusations against him shameful. Butler said if anything, his client was a hero that day.
"Eric Guffey stopped him from running through ditches, around roadblocks, and running citizens off the road," stated Butler. "If he wouldn't have had the foresight to block that road, there's no telling what would have happened in Barren county. And then Eric got out of that truck and ran after a meth head who was violent."
Also acquitted on all charges was Deputy Aaron Bennett, who was represented by Glasgow Attorney Buddy Alexander.
"It's obviously going to be closure for my client and his family. Chris' family is going to be in turmoil from now until August and possibly thereafter," said Alexander.
Sheriff Chris Eaton was charged in an eight-count federal indictment and was found guilty on two counts of witness tampering. He left the U.S. District Courthouse in Bowling Green without comment. He will be sentenced August 1 and faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.