Adam Minor

Judge Rules Ex-Deputy Violated Rights of Detainee

Jul 16, 2014
Kentucky Department of Corrections

A federal judge has ruled that a former Barren County sheriff's deputy violated the constitutional rights of a man under arrest. U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley found that Adam Minor used excessive force on Billy Stinnett after a 2010 chase.

The decision is the latest in the long-running case involving former Barren County sheriff Chris Eaton and other officials.

Stinnett claimed in a civil suit filed in federal court in 2011 that Eaton, Minor and other officers struck him or failed to intervene when others struck him after he was arrested.

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.

Day two of testimony is underway in the trial of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton and two other law enforcement officers who are accused of beating a witness who was in custody, and then lying to the FBI about it.

The three are charged with violating the civil rights on suspect Billy Stinnett following his arrest in 2010 in Glasgow. Testimony resumed Wednesday morning with prosecution witness and former Barren County Sheriff's deputy Adam Minor.

Under questioning by federal prosecutor Sanjay Patel, Minor admitted to lying under oath on three different occasions because Sheriff Eaton told him to do so. Minor said he feared being fired, or worse.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Guthrie True, Minor acknowledged that he had previously denied taking part in the beating of Stinnett in testimony in state court and before a grand jury. True implied during his questioning that since Minor was willing to lie to a grand jury of Glasgow citizens he was supposed to protect and serve, then he would surely be willing to lie now to jurors at the Warren County federal courthouse.