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.
The Cumberland County Coroner says the toddler was shot and killed by her five year old brother who was playing with a rifle he received as a gift.
Kentucky State Police say the girl was shot just after 1:00 pm Tuesday and was taken to Cumberland County Hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Coroner Gary White said the children's mother was home at the time of the shooting.
White said the boy received the rifle made for youths last year and is used to shooting it. he said the gun was kept in a corner and the family didn't realize a shell was left inside it. White said the shooting will be ruled accidental. An autopsy is scheduled for today.
Two central Kentucky law enforcement officers who were killed on the job will be honored next week at a ceremony in Richmond.
Being honored on Tuesday are officer Mark Taulbee of Hodgenville police and Deputy Anthony Rakes of the Marion County Sheriff's department. Taulbee was killed in a vehicle pursuit in September, Rakes was shot to death during a traffic stop in November.
The occasion is the state Department of Criminal Justice Training annual law enforcement memorial ceremony. It takes place at 11:00 am eastern time Tuesday, May 7, at the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial on Eastern Kentucky University's campus.
Six Kentucky officers killed in the line of duty between 1884 and 1950 will also be honored. Their names were recently added to the national memorial.
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.