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Campbell Co. school shooter back in custody

Kenneth Bartley is back in custody at the Knox County Detention Center after failing to appear in court on a criminal trespassing charge in Knoxville.


Kenneth Bartley is back in custody.

Bartley is listed under the inmate population for the Knox County Detention Center.


Police are once again looking for the man who as a teenager shot three administrators at Campbell County High School, killing one of them.

Legal troubles have followed Kenneth Bartley, now 26, since he was convicted of reckless homicide in the 2005 fatal shooting and released from jail a few days later.

His latest run in with law enforcement was on November 27, 2017, when Knoxville police responded to a disturbance at the Salvation Army on Broadway. A manager told officers that Bartley had been asked to leave and had refused several times.

The officer spoke to Bartley, who was carrying a 9-inch knife with brass knuckles handle in a sheath hidden in his waistband.

When Bartley was told he would be cited for criminal trespassing, he told the officer he was suicidal. The officer called for an ambulance, that transported him to a local hospital.

Bartley was set to appear in court on December 11 for the trespassing charge, but didn't show up. The judge issued a failure to appear warrant that day. He also missed a second appearance on February 7, so a second failure to appear warrant was issued.

Authorities have not been able to locate Bartley.

The attorney who represented him in the school shooting trial, Greg Isaacs, issued a statement to 10News when asked why Bartley did not appear in court: "For reasons beyond his control, Mr. Bartley was unable to be in court, and it was Mr. Bartley's desire not to have the matter continued. The judge has issued a capias for his arrest,"

Troubled past

Bartley's troubled past includes a shooting at Campbell County High School when he was a teenager. Assistant principal Ken Bruce was killed, and two other administrators were injured in the shooting. Bartley initially pleaded guilty to first degree murder as an adult and went to prison.

That conviction was overturned, and at a 2014 trial, he was convicted of a reduced crime of reckless homicide, and was set free with credit for time served in February 2014.

In just a few months Bartley had new legal troubles.

He assaulted his father and his mother on separate occasions, pleaded guilty to domestic assault, and was sentenced to probation.

Soon after and with a judge's permission, he moved to Virginia with Erin TePaske, who argued that Bartley needed a fresh start and her continued psychological treatment.

While he was living with TePaske, her 3-year-old son, Becket Josef Podominick, died of a head injury while in Bartley's care. TePaske said the boy died when he fell down some concrete steps.

The boy's father believes that Bartley is responsible for the boy's death, and has petitioned the governors of both Tennessee and Virginia to intervene. Bartley has not been charged in relation to the child's death.

In April 2015, while he was in Virginia, Campbell County issued an arrest warrant for Bartley for violating his probation on a previous assault charge because a device he was ordered to wear indicated he had used alcohol. He also failed to update his address.

He could not be extradited to Tennessee because the violations were a misdemeanor, but a year later when he returned to Campbell County, he was arrested and served about six months behind bars before being released.

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