Suicide letter will not be allowed in Kenny Bartley trial

Suicide letter will not be allowed in Campbell County HS shooting trial

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Accused Campbell County High School shooter Kenneth Bartley appeared at a motions hearing Friday morning. Accused Campbell County High School shooter Kenneth Bartley appeared at a motions hearing Friday morning.
Kenny Bartley's father took the stand to testifying that he wasn't dating a woman named Christy during the time of the shooting. Kenny Bartley's father took the stand to testifying that he wasn't dating a woman named Christy during the time of the shooting.
Jim Pierce, who was shot in the chest, says the shooting has impacted him both physically and emotionally. Jim Pierce, who was shot in the chest, says the shooting has impacted him both physically and emotionally.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

JACKSBORO (WATE) - A suicide note said to be written by the suspect in the 2005 Campbell County High School shooting will not be allowed as evidence in his trial.

A judge made that decision at a motions hearing for Kenneth Bartley Friday morning.

Attorney Greg Isaacs said his office was not provided with the note, which is a page from a composition book, until January 23, 2014, some eight years after Kenneth Bartley's arrest.

Isaacs said the note, in which Bartley claims his father loved his then-girlfriend more than he loved him, was not dated and prejudicial.

Isaacs says the state would try to use the apparent suicide letter to try and show Bartley's state of mind at the time of the shooting.

"This letter is going to be used to show that his intent was to bring a gun to school because he was going to do something to result in the end of his life," said Isaacs.

Isaacs says the letter isn't dated and cannot be linked to Bartley's state of mind at the time of the shooting.

In the letter, Bartley wrote that he wanted to be cremated after a funeral. He also wrote one reason for his depression is a woman named Christy, saying his dad loved Christy more than him and it drove him crazy.

Kenny Bartley's father took the stand to testifying that he wasn't dating a woman named Christy during the time of the shooting.

Isaacs asked, "In the year of 2005 at any time were you dating that individual that's referenced in the composition page by your son?"

"No." replied the defendant's father, Kenny Bartley.

The judge granted the motion.  The letter will be kept out of the new trial.

The prosecution also asked the judge not allow any witness statements concerning statements made by the defendant, saying the statements are hearsay.

The defense argued experts like a psychologist would need to use the statements Bartley made in the past.

The judge said any statements made by the defendant will be decided whether or not to be allowed in as evidence away from the jury.

Bartley is accused of bringing a .22-calibre handgun to Campbell County High School in November 2005, then firing at three administrators.

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

Jim Pierce, who was shot in the chest, says the shooting has impacted him both physically and emotionally.

"I have some things that happened to me that have bothered me physically to some extent but it's a very emotional thing. It's been a little over eight years and it's something you think about almost daily," said Pierce.

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

The jury will be selected from Hamilton County on February 21 with the trial to start in Campbell County on February 24.

Shooting victim Jim Pierce isn't looking forward to going through it all again at trial.

"Just the fact of having to go through it again and some of the people who will have to be brought into it, I hate for them to be confronted with all this again too," said Pierce.

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