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.
The prosecution continues to call witnesses Monday in the trial of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton and two other southern Kentucky law enforcement officers.
On the stand Monday is Dave McClellan, one of the two FBI agents who investigated the alleged beating of drug suspect Billy Stinnett, who led officers on a high-speed, two-county chase in February of 2010, before crashing his van into a Glasgow church.
McClellan interviewed Sheriff Eaton, Barren County Sheriff's Deputy Aaron Bennett, and Barren-Metcalfe Drug Task Force Detective Eric Guffey after the 2010 incident. Each of the three men were told they could be criminally charged if information in the report turned out to be false.
The officers were adamant that the written reports they had produced about the chase and arrest of Stinnett were accurate.
The man who says he was beaten by four southern Kentucky law enforcement officers while in custody is on the stand Thursday at the federal courthouse in Bowling Green.
Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, deputy Aaron Bennett, and Barren-Edmonson Drug Task Force Detective Eric Guffey face charges of beating suspect Billy Stinnett, and then lying about it to federal investigators. A fourth officer who took part in the beating avoided prosecution by testifying against the other three.
On the stand Thursday, Stinnett acknowledged that he led the officers on a high-speed chase through two counties before crashing his van into a Glasgow church. Stinnett also admitted that he was high on meth at the time, and had a mobile meth lab in the back of his vehicle.
Stinnett says after he crashed into the church he thew his hands up in the air and started going to the ground. Stinnett testified that Sheriff Eaton then began to strike him on the head with a baton without giving any commands.
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.
Testimony resumes Wednesday in the trial of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, former deputy Aaron Bennett, and Barren County Drug Task Force Detective Eric Guffey. The three law enforcement officers are accused of beating a suspect in custody and trying to cover up the assault to federal investigators.
The prosecution's star witness, Adam Minor, was on the witness stand for most of the day Tuesday. Minor said he was a willing participant in the alleged attack on suspect Billy Stinnett. Originally facing the same federal charges as the officers on trial, he pleaded guilty to one of the charges and agreed to testify for the prosecution in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Minor told jurors when he and other officers arrived on the scene on February 24, 2010, Sheriff Eaton was beating Stinnett with a baton and allegedly said “It’s your all’s turn.” Minor admitted hitting Stinnett because he was mad after the hour-long pursuit through two counties before Stinnett crashed his van into a Glasgow church.
Testimony began Tuesday in the federal trial of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton and two other law enforcement officers accused of beating a suspect in custody. The three are also charged with trying to cover up their actions by lying in documents given to the FBI.
On the witness stand Tuesday afternoon were two Glasgow sisters who witnessed the 2010 episode between the suspect and officers. First to speak was a fifteen-year-old who was 12 when a van crashed into a Glasgow church where she was preparing for evening worship with her youth group. She testified she wasn't sure how suspect Billy Stinnett got on the ground, but she said she saw uniformed officers kicking and hitting him.
She also testified that she didn't remember if Stinnett was in handcuffs or if he had a weapon.
Her older sister, who was 16 at the time, testified she saw Stinnett on the ground, with his hands cuffed behind his back. Defense attorneys asked the girls if they knew anything about the suspect, who was high on meth at time, or the two-county chase he had led officers on before crashing his van.
The girls said they didn't, and also said this was the first time they had ever seen anyone placed under arrest.
Jurors are expected to hear from several other teen witnesses in the trial that is expected to last up to two weeks.
Testimony begins Tuesday in the federal trial of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton and two other officers charged with using excessive force on a suspect in custody and lying about it to federal investigators.
Sheriff Eaton, Deputy Aaron Bennett, and Barren County Drug Task Force Detective Eric Guffey are accused of civil rights violations in the arrest of a methamphetamine suspect who led officers on a two-county car chase in 2010.
The defense will argue the suspect, Billy Stinnett, was combative and the use of force appropriate for the situation. Among the expected witnesses is former Deputy Adam Minor who was originally facing the same charges, but pleaded guilty to one charge of making false statements to the FBI. In a deal with prosecutors, Minor will testify against the sheriff and two other officers.
The trial in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green is expected to last at least a week.