3 jurors from Kenny Bartley's trial discuss the verdict

3 jurors from Kenny Bartley's trial discuss the verdict

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Sherry Skiles says there was no proof of premeditation, so the jurors found Bartley not guilty on the attempted first degree murder charges. (source: Sherry Skiles) Sherry Skiles says there was no proof of premeditation, so the jurors found Bartley not guilty on the attempted first degree murder charges. (source: Sherry Skiles)
Juror Stan Sisson says the shooting was reckless homicide. The jurors believed the defense's "fight or flight" scenario. (source: Stan Sisson) Juror Stan Sisson says the shooting was reckless homicide. The jurors believed the defense's "fight or flight" scenario. (source: Stan Sisson)

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

JACKSBORO (WATE) - We are hearing from some of the jurors in Kenny Bartley's trial for the first time. A jury from Hamilton County found Bartley guilty of reckless homicide last week, a much lesser charge than the original count of first degree murder.

Bartley shot and killed Campbell County High School Assistant Principal Ken Bruce in 2005. The jury also found Bartley not guilty on attempted first degree murder charges for shooting two other administrators.

All three jurors told 6 News they saw no evidence that Bartley acted with intent or premeditation. They say they wanted to see a transcript where Bartley was interviewed by detectives after the shooting, but weren't allowed to. The jurors say, with the evidence presented, they have no doubt they made the right decision.

For days, the jurors heard from witness after witness, but a verdict was reached in less than three hours. Juror Sherry Skiles says it was clear the evidence did not show premeditation.

"He took the gun to school, which was a stupid mistake, and that he didn't go with the intent to harm anybody. He was going to trade it for drugs, which was another stupid mistake," said Skiles.

As soon as deliberations started, the jurors took a vote on the premeditated first degree murder charge.

"Everybody voted unanimously on the first charge," said Skiles.

Juror RJ Hoffman Jr. says they then found Bartley not guilty on felony murder.

"We really didn't think he went to school with the gun that day with the intention of shooting anybody," said Hoffman.

Juror Stan Sisson says the shooting was reckless homicide. The jurors believed the defense's "fight or flight" scenario.

"He panicked. He was in those tight quarters with three grown men," said Sisson.

Skiles says there was no proof of premeditation, so the jurors found Bartley not guilty on the attempted first degree murder charges.

"I think premeditation means what it says. You meditate over it for a bit. We only had guilty or not guilty on that charge. There wasn't a lesser charge," said Skiles.

The jurors say they did ask the judge to see the transcript of Bartley's interview with detectives after the shooting for further discussion and clarification.

"We asked to see Bartley's statement there, but wasn't able to see it," said Sisson.

The judge told the jurors the transcript wasn't entered as evidence. 6 News asked District Attorney Lori Phillips-Jones why Bartley's interview eight years ago with detectives wasn't entered as evidence. She said she didn't enter the transcript when the state put on proof for strategic reasons.

In cross examination of Bartley though, she did bring up discrepancies in his statements. On the stand Bartley testified that he shot at random. In the statement from eight years ago, he said he pointed and shot.

Bartley's sentencing has been set for April 7 at 9 a.m.

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