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Thursday, February 20 2014

LaFollette Press

Thursday, February 20 2014



Noon Bartley arrives at Campbell County High School late. 12:10 p.m. Aaron Crowley, classmate and friend, does not see Bartley until he comes to school late. He hears Bartley tell the math teacher he had woken up sick that morning. Bartley looks depressed and has a very pale face, according to Crowley. He doesnt ask questions because questions make Bartley angry. Bartley tells Crowley, I snorted a Xanax 10, and shows them to Crowley. 12:30 p.m. Cousin Carden Russell sees Bartley when he comes to school late. We said Hi when he came in, but did not talk. He acted normal, Russell said. Lunch Bartley and Crowley eat lunch together. Crowley then sees Bartley speaking to student Daniel Hamblin. Crowley goes on to his fourth period class. Hamblin and another student, Preston Young, wrestle with Bartley and realize he has a gun. Young asks about the gun. Kenneth told us that he brought it to trade for some Oxycontin pills, Hamblin said. Bartley tells Young its a 9-mm. Young and Hamblin decide to tell Principal Gary Seale about the weapon. The investication would reveal the gun was a .22 caliber. 1:38 p.m. Hamblin and Young tell their teacher that Bartley is carrying a gun and they need to talk to Principal Seale. Seale isnt in, so the two go to assistant principal Jim Pierces office after speaking with Susan Phillips, the school resource officer. Pierce checks the master schedule on a computer to see which class Bartley was in. 1:40 p.m. School Secretary Sherry Brown stops Faye Comer, CCHS bookkeeper, in the hallway and tells her to lie low because there is a rumor of a student carrying a weapon on campus. 1:45 p.m. Bartley reports to keyboarding class taught by Anna Castleberry and begins a conversation with fellow student Nathan Roberts. Kenneth came up to me and started talking about what all I was going to do after school, Roberts said. 1:45 p.m. While in keyboarding class, Bartley shows the gun to a classmate, Trent Shane McCullah, who tells him to get rid of it. Bartley then shows off some pills and says he is going to trade the gun after school. 1:45 p.m. Bartley asks Castleberry why she missed school the previous day. I dont like it when you have a sub. Im glad you are back, he tells the teacher. The school resource officer arrives in the classroom and tells Bartley they need to go to the office and make sure he signed in to school when he came in late. Bartley appeared nervous, according to reports. He kept saying, What do you want? Susan Phillips said. 1:50 p.m. Pierce calls to the guard shack to ask Seale to return to the office. 1:50 p.m. Bartley takes a seat outside the office while the school officer briefs Seale and Pierce on the situation. Assistant Principal Ken Bruce arrives, and the three discuss the issue in Pierces office. Phillips talks in the hallway with janitor, Tim Phillips. Bartley is taken into the office. Pierce is seated at his desk, Bartley is seated in front of Pierce. Seale is in the chair next to Bartley. Bruce is near the door. When the gun is taken out, Seale is shot first and takes two bullets, followed by Bruce and then Pierce. Witnesses near the office report hearing between four and seven gunshots. Seale emerges from the office and yells that somebody should call 911. He also asks for a rope. 2:11 p.m. The first 911 call with reports of three gunshot victims is received. Pierce, who is bleeding from the mouth, is found holding Bartley down. Susan Phillips takes over, and Pierce is helped into a chair by JROTC instructor Col. Knud Salveson. 2:20 p.m. Seale announces a lockdown over the PA system, according to student Jessica Phillips. Col. Salveson and Janitor Tim Phillips tie Bartleys arms behind him, while Susan Phillips holds him down. Teacher Danny Sheckles begins administering aid to Bruce. Jacksboro Police Officer Jason Heatherly is the first officer on the scene. Bartley is brought to him in the hallway with his hands tied behind him with rope. Heatherly, along with CCSO Deputy Darrell Mongar, takes Bartley to the cafeteria to sit down. 2:30 p.m. Teacher Patty Kilgore tells her students Jessica Phillips included to move into a back corner of the classroom. 2:40 p.m. A classmate of Jessica Phillips answers his cell phone and the color drains from his face as he is told there had been a shooting at the school. 3:15 p.m. Director of Schools Judy Blevins announces over the intercom that theres been a school shooting and it may be a while before the students are released. 3:45 p.m. Students who ride buses are released. 4 p.m. Students who drive are released. 4:03 p.m. An order is filed in juvenile court allowing Det. Don Farmer to take Bartley to the Scott County Detention Center. Another order is filed allowing Farmer to transport Bartley to the Richard L. Bean Juvenile Detention Facility. He would later be housed at the Mountain View Youth Development Center in Dandridge. Bartley is housed at the center until he becomes an adult. (He is currently incarcerated in West Tennessee at Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville.) 8:25 p.m. Bartley arrives at the Richard L. Bean Juvenile Detention Facility in Knoxville.

His day in court
A timeline of events in the Campbell County school-shooting trial
Information compiled from court documents, police records and Press archives. GRAPHIC: Brent Schanding/Beth Braden

ONE DAY BEFORE SHOOTING Nov. 7, 2005 Kenny Bartley Jr.


visits his cousin Carden Russell, who later says Bartley never talked about a gun or showed him one.

Nov. 9 Judge Joe Ayers recuses himself from the case. Mental health teams are sent to the school. By Nov. 14, there are more than two dozen counselors on hand to help students and staff process the tragedy. A petition regarding Bartleys delinquency is filed in Campbell Countys Juvenile Court by now-retired TBI agent Steve Vinsant.

Nov. 10 Local business leaders begin meeting to set up funds for the Campbell County High School Relief Fund to assist the victims and their families. Former director of schools Judy Blevins said the principals acted appropriately in dealing with Bartley the day of the shooting.

Nov. 11 Bruces body lies in state all day before his funeral. Initial reports estimate more than 4,000 attend. Students are allowed to retrieve their belongings from the school. The Bruce home is broken into during the funeral. Former Gov. Phil Bredesen comes to Campbell County to pay his respects.

Nov. 12 Bruce is buried.

Dec. 1 Survivors Jim Pierce and Gary Seale visit the high school for the first time since the shooting after spending more than a week at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

Dec. 16 School leaders meet with the U.S. Department of Education for a facility analysis.

Dec. 14 Country music artist Sawyer Brown holds a benefit concert at Campbell County High School.

Nov. 29 A formal meeting of the Campbell County High School Relief Fund board is held. School leaders meet with national and state security experts.

Nov. 28 Ken Bruces widow, Jo Bruce, asks the board of education to improve school security.

Nov. 16 Bartley appears in court to be arraigned before Judge Michael Davis from Morgan County. Bartley is represented by Mike Hatmaker. Assistant District Attorney General Mike Ripley files a petition to transfer Bartleys case from juvenile court to criminal court. U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis gives a speech on the House floor in Washington, D.C. about the shooting.

Nov. 14 School resumes with seven armed officers on guard. Discussions on revamping school security begin. Attendance is 1,411 present out of 1,469 students total, though the number drops through the week. Two bomb threats for the high school are received at WQLA radio station. One call comes in at 6:34 a.m. The second comes in at 7:11 a.m. All basketball practice is cancelled out of respect.

Nov. 13 Prayer services are held at both Campbell County High School and LaFollette Church of God.

Jan. 19, 2006 Jo Bruce, widow of Ken Bruce, blasts the board of education for a lack of increased safety and asks about their future plans. She goes on to offer to provide free parenting classes for parents of out-of-control adolescents. It is an area she is skilled in because of her work as a family resource officer with the Oak Ridge City Schools. Jan. 26 A hearing that would transfer Bartley from juvenile to adult court is postponed until March.

Feb. 16 Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen holds a meeting about school security at the Jacksboro Middle School library. School resource officer ratios are discussed, with

some suggesting the ratio be set at one SRO to every 200 students. Late February Law enforcement trains at the high school in an armed-intruder drill.

March 30 Bartleys case is moved to adult court after Hatmaker waives the hearing because the state had probable cause.

April Seale announces plans to run for state legislature. His platform includes improving education, school environments and school safety.

April 15 Don Farmer, the detective who questioned Bartley in the hospital right after the shooting, is arrested for DUI while on his way to work.

April 28 Jacksboro Elementary School is locked down after reports of a gun. A later investigation reveals that an angry parent in a custody dispute was headed to the school.

May 3 Bruces family receives a settlement: $3,886 for medical bills, $7,000 for the funeral, a lump sum of $64,859 paid to Jo Bruce and $24,946 paid to his son, Patrick.

May 12 The first Ken Bruce scholarships are awarded to two graduating seniors.

Nov 8 A memorial service is planned for the one-year anniversary of the shooting. Approximately 500 people attended.

Nov. 6 Jo Bruce sues Bartley, as well as his parents, in civil court. The case is still pending.

Nov. 2 Students at the high school appeal to the board of education via the Paw Press to name the new elementary school Ken Bruce Elementary School.

Late Oct. Judge Shayne Sexton recuses himself from the case. Knoxville-based judge Jon Kerry Blackwood is appointed to the case.

Oct. 20 Gov. Phil Bredesen again visits Campbell County during his campaign. He tells attendees that more funding for SROs is necessary.

Mid-Oct. A petition signed by approximately 159 people asking that the DA refuse a plea deal for Bartley is delivered to the DA. One of the signers, Kim Potter, wrote, My daughter was in that office!!!! below her signature.

July 27 Jo Bruce lobbies for a tax increase to fund school resource officers in schools. She tells the LaFollette Press that she worries the tragedys significance is fading from memory.

Mid-June The Juvenile Justice Foundation begins a letter-writing campaign, asking for leniency for Bartley. Letters maintain he should be tried as a juvenile.

June 9 Bartley is arraigned in criminal court.

June 6 A grand jury indicts Bartley on one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, possession of a firearm on campus and possession of a schedule-IV controlled substance for resale or distribution. Prosecutors present evidence for two and a half hours. The grand jury deliberates for 40 minutes. More than 100 names are attached to the indictment as witnesses.

Nov. 9 Bartley requests the transfer hearing his attorney had waived in April. The hearing is set for Jan. 29, 2007. The trial is tentatively set for April 10.

Nov. 16 The board of education fails to name the new elementary school after Bruce, instead opting for LaFollette Elementary School. Board members said the reasoning behind the name would be traumatic for students when they asked who Ken Bruce was.

Jan. 25 Hatmaker asks for a continuance for the transfer hearing. Judge Mike Davis says no.

Jan. 29 The transfer hearing begins four days later and lasts for several days. Proceedings break until Feb. 2 when psychologist Diana McCoy can be present and testify as a witness for the defense. Bartley is again transferred to criminal court.

Feb. 7 Mike Hatmaker speaks to the LaFollette Press about Bartley. He says his client is sorry for his actions.

April 3 Jury selection in the trial begins.

April 7 Bartley pleads guilty to second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder. He is sentenced to 45 years.

April 11 Kenneth Bartleys mother, Rita Vannoy, speaks to the Press about her son. She says he was a good child but lost his way around 6th grade.

May 16 The state counters the motion. A hearing is set for later in the summer.

Oct. 15 An affidavit by psychiatrist James F. Murray is filed in court. His affidavit says that Bartleys 2007 plea was not knowingly entered because of Bartleys previous psychological issues. Oct. 18 Attorney Greg Isaacs files a motion for Bartleys post-conviction relief claiming ineffective assistance of his trial counsel. Nov. 23 Prosecutors file a counter motion asking the court to dismiss the request for post-conviction relief. Jan. 9ish Five school resource officers are designated for schools in Campbell County.

Feb. 5 Again, a seven-count indictment is issued against Bartley.

March 25 Hatmaker visits Bartley at the juvenile detention facility and discusses the 45-year plea offered by the state. Bartley, along with his parents, reject the offer.

May 8 Bartley moves to withdraw his guilty plea.

August The Bartley family hires Knoxvillebased attorney Greg Isaacs to represent Bartley.

May-June Tennessees Court of Criminal Appeals denies Bartleys appeal. Bruce Poston files for the case to be heard before Tennessees Supreme Court, but the court denies it more than three months later.

March 24 Bruce Poston files his appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Sept. 7 Bartleys mother is released from the civil suit against her son and her ex husband.

Aug. 3 Bartleys mother, Rita Vannoy, asks the court to seal the court records to protect herself and the other parties in the case from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense. Jan. 24 Isaacs files a motion to dismiss the case after the state misses a deadline to provide videotape of the interviews with Gary Seale and Jim Pierce. The tapes were delivered to Isaacs on Jan. 27; the motion was dismissed.

July Judge Blackwood denies Bartleys motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Jo Bruce calls new laws about school resource officers a step in the right direction.


May 25 Rita Vannoy asks for a summary judgement in the civil case Jo Bruce filed against the family. Rita Vannoy has no liability to the plaintiffsas she did not live with Kenneth Bartley, nor did she have the opportunity to control the actions of Kenneth Bartley prior to the shooting, court documents said.

May 21 The Bartley family hires attorney Bruce Poston and discharges Mike Hatmaker.

2011 2013

July Blackwood hears the change of venue motion filed by Isaacs and rules that the case will be tried in Campbell County, but the jury will come from another area. Later, it is revealed that the jury will come from Hamilton County in the Chattanooga area. The trial is set for Feb. 24, 2014.

Feb. 7 Blackwood bans a suicide note by Bartley from the record and trial.

Feb. 21 Jury selection commences in Chattanooga.

June Judge Blackwood hears the post-conviction relief motion and later issues his opinion on the matter. He grants post-conviction relief to Bartley, now almost 20. In his opinion, Blackwood acknowledges that he had always been troubled by the last-minute plea deal the day of the trial. The state appealed Blackwoods decision, and the discussion went to the court of criminal appeals. A few days later, Isaacs files a motion asking for a bond hearing for Bartley. He says his bail is excessive.

March 11 Tennessees court of criminal appeals upholds Blackwoods decision to grant Bartley a new trial.

Aug. 9 Isaacs files a motion to suppress Bartleys hospital bed interview with Deputy Don Farmer from the trial.

Sept. 3 The school zone at Campbell County High School is named Ken Bruce Memorial Highway through a bill by Rep. Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro).

Oct. 4 Prosecutors file a motion to restrict any expert testimony about Bartleys mental health other than that of Dr. Diana McCoy. Prosecutors also file a motion to substitute now-retired TBI agent Steve Vinsant for Special Agent Jerry Spoon, who is now assigned to the case.

Jan. 31 Isaacs files a motion proposing instructions how to define intoxicated for the jury, because intoxication will be one of the ways he plans to defend Bartley.

Feb. 24 The trial is expected to begin at the Campbell County Courthouse.