Jury for school shooting trial will come from different county

Jury for Campbell County school shooting trial will come from different county

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Kenny Bartley pleaded guilty to the shootings in a plea deal, but was granted a new trial in June 2011. Kenny Bartley pleaded guilty to the shootings in a plea deal, but was granted a new trial in June 2011.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

JACKSBORO (WATE) - A teenager who pleaded guilty to a deadly 2005 shooting at Campbell County High School won a request Monday morning to have his case heard by a jury from a different county.

Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood agreed to select the jury from a different county, but decided to keep the trial in Campbell County.

"I probably made a mistake years ago when this case first came up here by allowing this man to plead guilty," Judge Blackwood said. "I should have gone ahead and kept to my word and said we're going to have a trial."

Kenny Bartley pleaded guilty to the shootings in a plea deal, but was granted a new trial in June 2011. An appeals court agreed with the ruling last May.

Blackwood and the appeals judges agreed that Bartley's original counsel was ineffective. The courts also granted the trial because his parents were not involved in his decision to take a plea deal.

Attorney Greg Isaacs appeared with Bartley Monday to ask Blackwood for the trial to be moved to a different county.

Isaacs claimed broadcast, print and online media, as well as comments made on websites, made a fair trial impossible in Campbell County.

Bartley is accused of walking into the Campbell County High School cafeteria in November 2005 with a .22-calibre handgun, the firing at three administrators when they confronted him.

Assistant Principal Ken Bruce was killed. Principal Gary Seale and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce were wounded.

"We just want closure," said Jo Bruce, widow of the slain assistant principal. "I think any trial, any jury pool, we're okay with it. We're ready to go to selection wherever the judge deems is the best place to find that jury. We accept that."

Bartley's sentence after agreeing to the plea deal was 25 years for Bruce's murder and two 10-year sentences on attempted murder charges. He was sentenced to serve the time consecutively, for a total of 45 years.

Judge Blackwood set a trial date of February 24, 2014.

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