Judge Keeps Death Penalty Open As Possible Sentence

STANTON, Ky. (AP) - A judge in the eastern Kentucky city of Stanton has refused a defense request to preclude a possible death sentence for a man accused of killing a small-town police chief.

Powell Circuit Judge Frank Fletcher yesterday denied a motion by lawyers for James "Jamie" Barnett Junior.

Barnett is charged with murder in the shooting death of Clay City Police Chief Randy Lacy on June 13th.

Police say Lacy had arrested Barnett on suspicion of drunken driving and put him in the patrol car. He was cuffed with his hands in front of him and investigators say Barnett grabbed the chief's spare pistol from the car's console and shot him.

The public advocate had asked the death penalty be excluded because the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether Kentucky's method of lethal injection is constitutional.

The commonwealth's attorney objected, saying removing the death sentence is premature while the court is considering the issue.

Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader,

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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