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.
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.
A proposed budget for Daviess County includes a $1 million increase in spending on general fund operations, and a two-percent cost of living increase for county employees.
Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly presented an 87 page document outlining a $23.5 million dollar plan for general fund spending next fiscal year, a nearly 5 percent increase over the current year.
The Messenger-Inquirer reports the new budget keeps property and payroll tax rates at the same levels, and contains one-million-dollars less for the Daviess County Detention Center. The facility has generated more revenue on its one, and that $1 million will instead be freed up for capitol projects.
Mattingly says he’s happy the proposed county budget contains $2.5 million less in overall debt than the current fiscal year, with no new debt taken on next year.
Southcentral Kentucky Community College has chosen provost Phillip Neal as their new president. He'll replace the retiring Nathan Hodges on July 1st.
Community and Technical College System President Michael McCall says he's pleased the new president has a history with the school already and he expects a smooth transition. Neal has been provost of Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College since 2008.
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.
As WKU prepares for budget cuts ahead of the next fiscal year, another Kentucky university is making plans ahead of its next budget.
The Eastern Kentucky University board of regents has approved a spending plan that includes a three-percent in-state undergraduate tuition increase and no raises for employees. The three-percent tuition hike is the maximum allowed by the Council on Postsecondary Education.
WKU President Gary Ransdell had asked the CPE for a five-percent undergraduate tuition increase, saying it was needed to help the school move forward without budget cuts.
Dr. Ransdell says WKU will now have to look at cuts that will include personnel reductions. WKU vice-presidents have given Ransdell preliminary plans for cuts in their departments.
The issue will be taken up by the school’s board of regents at their meeting in late June.
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.