Attorney wants school shooting suspect's suicide note excluded from trial

An attorney for the man accused in a school shooting that killed an assistant principal doesn't want his client's suicide note used against him.

Kenneth Bartley was 14 when investigators say he took a gun to Campbell County High School in November 2005. He was taken to the principal's office, where Ken Bruce was shot and killed. Two others, Principal Gary Seal and Vice Principal Ken Pierce were injured. Bartley initially pleaded guilty, but his guilty plea was thrown out, and he has now been granted a trial.

His attorney, Greg Isaacs, filed paperwork this week to suppress a page from a notebook that appears to be a suicide note written by Bartley. The single page is not dated. The note begins, "Today is the last of my horrible days."

The note, signed by Bartley, asks for an open casket at the funeral and then to be cremated and his ashes spread "across the mountains off of Eagle Bluff." He also asks for his room to be left the same.

"I never feel joy ever," the note reads.

In court paperwork, Isaacs says the note should be excluded because it was presented as evidence for the first time approximately eight years after Bartley's arrest, and there's no way to determine when it was written.

He also says it is not relevant to the shootings, and would violate Bartley's Fifth Amendment right to remain silent if he were forced to take the stand to talk about it, and his right to a fair trial. He also feels the note would prejudice the jury against Bartley.

The judge has not yet ruled on the request.


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