Campbell Co. school shooter walks free

(WBIR) Kenneth Bartley is a free man.

Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood ruled Monday that the Campbell County High School shooter won't return to prison because of time already served.

The now 23-year-old, who admitted to shooting three administrators at Campbell County High School in 2005, was sentenced concurrently to three years for reckless homicide charges, three years for having a weapon at school, and two years for drug charges. He has already served more than eight years.

MORE: Bartley found not guilty of first-degree murder

MORE: Campbell Co. HS shooter wants chance to clear record

Last week, the defense asked for judicial diversion in the case, meaning that Bartley's record would be cleared of charges against him if he complied to a judge's rules for a specific amount of time. Blackwood denied that request Monday. Prosecutors have argued that judicial diversion would have allowed Bartley to own guns in the future. The state went on to say that would not have been in the public's best interest.

Video: Family of shooting victim reacts to sentencing

The family of Ken Bruce, who was killed in the shooting, testified at Bartley's sentencing hearing as well.

His widow, Jo Bruce, said the family felt that the justice system had failed them, but their family was strong, and that they would go on.

"All we ever asked for was justice and peace, and somehow, the opportunity to find healing," Bruce said.

His brother, Greg Bruce, said the real loser in cases like this are the victims and those they leave behind. His sister, Wendy Bruce Montgomery, also made mention of the declining health of her parents following Ken Bruce's death.

Bartley was found guilty of the reduced charge of reckless homicide. A jury did not convict him on any charges related to the shootings of principal Gary Seale and vice principal Jim Pierce, so they were not allowed to testify.

The prosecution asked the judge to sentence Bartley to the maximum for each conviction and for those sentences to run consecutively. If the judge granted the prosecution's request, Bartley's sentence would have added up to a total of 10 years behind bars and would have sent him back to prison for less than two years.

Isaacs argued there was no criteria in state law that would allow for Bartley to be sentenced consecutively.

Blackwood seemed troubled on the stand, saying he doesn't like some of the decisions he makes, but he has to enforce the law. He called the justice system imperfect because it is run by people. The judge said he's been left with a feeling of helplessness because the justice system is nothing but a long list of tragedies.

Bartley was already out on bond at the time of his sentencing.\


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