WKU Public Radio News Staff
Fri May 3, 2013
T.J. Samson Doctor Testifies in Federal Trial of Three Southern Kentucky Law Enforcement Officers
In the fourth day of testimony Friday in the federal trial of three southern Kentucky law enforcement officers, the prosecution continued to call expert witnesses to the stand.
Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, one of his deputies, and a Barren-Edmonson drug task force detective are accused of beating drug suspect Billy Stinnett while he was custody in Glasgow, and then lying about it to federal investigators.
On the witness stand Friday afternoon was Dr. Lee Carter, the on-duty emergency room physician at Glasgow's T.J. Samson Hospital the night of Feb. 24, 2010, when Billy Stinnett crashed his van into a Barren County church after leading officers on a high-speed chase.
Dr. Carter treated Stinnett for injuries Stinnett said were caused by beatings administered by law enforcement after he was handcuffed. Dr. Carter testified that Stinnett had blunt-force trauma to the head that could have been caused by a baton or fist.
He also testified about multiple bruises and lacerations on Stinnett's body.
Under cross-examination, defense attorneys for the three law enforcement officers got Dr. Carter to clarify that any statements about the cause of the injuries came from Stinnett himself, and not the officers. The doctor also acknowledged that Stinnett's injuries could have been caused by a reasonable use of force, such as an instance when a suspect was resisting arrest.
Stinnett led police on a two-county, high-speed chase the night of Feb. 24, 2010, before crashing his van into a Glasgow church where a youth group was meeting. Stinnett has admitted to being high on meth at the time of chase, and a mobile meth lab was found in the back of his vehicle.