Students react to high school shooter being granted a retrial

Campbell Co. High School shooter granted retrial; current and former students speak out

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"I remember being in class and the school going on lock down. After that, I remember teachers talking back and forth and people crying over Mr. Seale and Mr. Bruce and Mr. Pierce," said Autumn Reynolds. "I remember being in class and the school going on lock down. After that, I remember teachers talking back and forth and people crying over Mr. Seale and Mr. Bruce and Mr. Pierce," said Autumn Reynolds.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

LAFOLLETTE (WATE) - Kenny Bartley, the student who pleaded guilty for a deadly 2005 shooting at Campbell County High School, has been granted a retrial by the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Bartley's attorney also plans to file motion for Bartley to eventually be released on bond.

When Bartley was 14, he opened fire at the high school, killing Assistant Principal Ken Bruce and injuring Principal Gary Seale and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce.

6 News spoke to current and former Campbell County High School students. They said even though the shooting happened more than seven years ago, they vividly remember where they were and how they felt.

For the widow of Ken Bruce, the news of the retrial is still sinking in.

Autumn Reynolds is now a senior at Campbell County High School. She was in the fifth grade when the shooting occurred. It's a day she'll never forget.

"I remember being in class and the school going on lock down. After that, I remember teachers talking back and forth and people crying over Mr. Seale and Mr. Bruce and Mr. Pierce," said Reynolds.

In 2007, Bartley pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 45 years for murder and two counts of attempted murder. Bartley later appealed the decision.

The Court of Criminal Appeals has granted the appeal stating that trial counsel was ineffective and that Bartley's parents weren't involved in his decision to accept the offer.

Bartley's attorney, Greg Isaacs, says Bartley was only given a few seconds to make the deal.

"Bartley regretted it immediately after the guilty plea and had turned down a similar plea a few weeks earlier. This child wasn't given sufficient information or time to make an informed decision," said Isaacs.

But some former Campbell County students disagree with the court's decision.

"I don't think he should get a retrial because at that age, if you're in high school, you know what's right and what's wrong," said Nichole Olson.

"I don't think he should get a retrial. I think he should have to pay for what he did," said Jennifer Siler.

Current student Autumn Reynolds says a retrial will bring back memories and fear for students.

"People over time forget and then this gets brought back up and you think well it can happen again, there's nothing you can really do to stop it," said Reynolds.

Bartley's attorney says the state has 60 days to appeal the decision. If the retrial moves forward, he will file a motion for bond and begin investigating what was in Bartley's mind that day at school to cause his actions.

Assistant Principal Ken Bruce was killed in the 2005 shooting.

When asked about the retrial his widow Jo Bruce said, "We are just trying to process the change of events and prepare ourselves for the difficult days ahead. We survived the worst on the day we buried Ken."

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