Ahead of his August 1st sentencing, Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton will resign from office at the end of the month. WKU Public Radio learned of the resignation in a sentencing memorandum filed in federal court.
In May, Eaton was convicted on two felony counts of witness tampering relating to the alleged beating of a suspect and a cover-up that followed.
U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley last week denied a motion to overturn the verdicts or grant the sheriff a new trial. Prosecutors are asking for a prison sentence of seven to nine years, while the defense is hoping for ten to 16 months.
With his resignation, Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer says she will have to appoint a new sheriff to serve out the remainder of Chris Eaton’s term, which ends next December.
Two women from Barren County who played significant roles in the fields of flight and education are being honored this weekend. The Kentucky Historical Society will dedicate markers in honor of Nettie Depp and Willa Brown Chappell.
"Chappell was the first African-American woman to earn her pilot's license in the U.S., and that was in 1937," said Becky Riddle, with the Kentucky Historical Society. "She also was the first African-American officer in the Civil Air Patrol, and the first American woman to hold both a mechanic's license and commercial pilot's license."
Chappell was co-founder of the National Airmen's Association of American, which worked to get African-Americans into the U.S. Air Force. In 1940, she co-founded the Coffey School of Aeronautics, which trained black pilots. Some of those pilots went on to be Tuskegee Airmen.
Nettie Depp in 1913 became the first female public official in Barren County, and served as superintendent of county schools from 1914 to 1917. Depp helped lead efforts to unify local schools and create Barren County's first four-year high school, housed in the former Liberty College.
The Aug. 1 sentencing of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton remains on schedule after a federal judge rejected a motion for acquittal or a new trial.
In May, Eaton was convicted on two counts of witness tampering during a trial in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green. The sheriff and two other law enforcement officers were accused of beating a suspect in handcuffs and trying to cover-up the incident to federal investigators.
The witness tampering convictions stem from Sheriff Eaton asking two deputies to lie in reports to the FBI about what they saw at the scene of Billy Stinnett’s arrest. U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley this week issued a ruling upholding the jury’s verdicts.
“Ultimately, based on evidence presented at trial, a reasonable juror could believe that while there was not sufficient evidence to convict Eaton on the unreasonable use of force charges, there was sufficient evidence to believe that Eaton engaged in witness tampering," McKinley wrote in his order.
When he is sentenced next month, Eaton faces up to 20 years in prison, though under federal sentencing guidelines, he is likely to receive a much lighter sentence.
The founder of a now-bankrupt Barren County oil and gas drilling firm will surrender all interest in the company as part of a settlement with a bankruptcy trustee that ends years of litigation with the trustee for the company.
Under the terms of the agreement, the trustee for Mammoth Resource Partners is dropping a $770,000 claim against former company chief executive officer Roger Louis Cory of Cave City. In exchange, Cory is relinquishing any ownership claim and financial interest he had in Mammoth and its various partnerships and projects.
The settlement, approved Wednesday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joan Lloyd, ends any involvement Cory founded in 2004. It also brings to an end the bankruptcy trustee's drive to collect at least $770,000 thousand Cory transferred from the company in the five years before it went bankrupt in 2010 with $ 1 million to $10 million in assets and between $500,000, $1 million in liabilities at the time of the filing and each of the plaintiffs as a creditor with the amount owed as "unknown."
The settlement includes dismissing a lawsuit filed in 2012 against Cory seeking the money.
The case against Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton and two other officers is expected to go to the jury Thursday. Eaton, Deputy Aaron Bennett, and Barren-Edmonson County Drug Task Force Detective Eric Guffey are accused of beating a suspect and engaging in a cover-up.
Testimony ended in the week-and-a-half long trial with none of the officers testifying in their own defense.
In closing statements to the jury, Federal Prosecutor Roy Conn said three men sworn to uphold the law broke the law. He recanted eyewitness statements that suspect Billy Stinnett was on the ground in handcuffs, but the alleged assault continued.
The prosecution relied heavily on former deputy Adam Minor, who pleaded guilty to one charge and agreed to testify against the other officers.