Key evidence located in Campbell Co. school shooting case

Evidence that a defense attorney thought was missing has now been located by the District Attorney General's office.

Greg Isaacs represents Kenneth Bartley, who is charged with the 2005 shooting at Campbell County High School that left Assistant Principal Ken Bruce dead.

On Friday, Isaacs filed a motion to dismiss the case because of missing evidence, particularly the taped interviews of the two administrators who were injured, but survived, the shooting. On Monday, Isaacs said the tapes were delivered to his office.

DAG Lori Phillips-Jones confirmed to 10News that her office had located the tapes.

Isaacs says he appreciates the professionalism of the Campbell County DA's office in "locating" the tapes which were never previously provided to the defense.

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(WBIR) State authorities admitted that key evidence is missing more than eight years after a fatal shooting at a Campbell County high school.

Attorneys for the accused shooter, Kenneth S. Bartley, have filed motions Friday to dismiss charges or delay his trial after authorities admitted that videotaped interviews of two key witnesses are missing.

In the motions, defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs wrote that about one month before the trial, the defense learned that the state may have lost statements of the two surviving victims, who are the only eyewitnesses to the shooting. The only videotaped interview that remains is Kenneth Bartley's, claimed the defense.

"The State has offered no explanation regarding this remarkable development as to why material evidence in a first degree murder homicide case was not preserved," wrote Isaacs in the motion. "Although the State has provided thousands of documents during discovery, no other evidence has been lost."

In 2006, Bartley pleaded guilty to the Campbell County Comprehensive High School shooting on Nov. 8, 2005 in exchange for a lesser sentence. But in 2011, a judge threw out Bartley's previous guilty plea, after his attorney argued that authorities pressured the teenager into the plea without discussing it with his parents.

Bartley was just 14 years old when he allegedly brought his dad's unloaded gun and bullets to school to trade with another student for drugs. He told investigators that he took prescription drugs before allegedly shooting Bruce, Seale and Pierce in the principal's office. The shooting killed Vice Principal Ken Bruce and injured Principal Gary Seale and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce.

Pierce told investigators that he initially thought the gun Bartley was carrying was a squirt gun. When Pierce asked the teenager to show him the gun, Bartley pulled the handgun from his pocket and began waving it around, according to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report. Both Pierce and Seale said Bartley first shot and killed Bruce and then shot and injured them. But without transcripts and videotaped interviews of Pierce and Seale, Isaacs said it's unfair to move forward with the trial.

"The lost and/or destroyed interviews would have offered an invaluable snapshot as to the critical sequence or events that transpired before the shooting took place in the small schoolhouse office," wrote Isaacs.

Bartley's defense also filed a motion to throw out Bartley's videotaped statement at trial.

"The missing interviews go at the heart of Mr. Bartley's guilt or innocence and are essential to establishing the degree of homicide, if any, for with Kenneth Bartley may be culpable."

Isaacs also filed motions to throw out newly discovered evidence because the prosecution didn't disclose the items in a timely matter. The defense said the prosecution disclosed Thursday new evidence, including a page from composition notebook, handwritten notes and threats he made to a neighbor.

Bartley's trial is set for February 24. The jury will not be from Campbell County. The court clerk said the jury pool will be selected from Hamilton County.


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