Trooper BJ Burton entered a not guilty plea before a packed Adair County courtroom, with people supporting both the state trooper and his alleged victim.
And that was an awkward moment for Jelaine Phillips, who sat across from the trooper accused in her husband's death.
Trooper Burton was flanked by family and supporters, people Phillips says she knows well and may have even called friends.
“I worked with many of them. Consider many of them; know them on a personal basis. It's hard. Very hard,” says Phillips.
But what's so hard for Phillips and other relatives is why her husband Billy died while being booked in the Adair County Jail on DUI charges.
Grand jurors indicted Burton on reckless homicide, but he was never arrested and jailed himself.
“I feel like it's unfair; should be a bond set. He should be arrested. He's not spent a first second in jail. A life has been taken here,” says Phillips’ brother Terry.
No mention of jail time or bond was made in court Tuesday. Only standard requests for discovery, future court dates set, and a prosecutor's request for background information on Trooper Burton.
“He was employed by two prior law enforcement agencies, Lexington and Campbellsville, both interested to see his personnel file,” Special Prosecutor Eddy Montgomery of Somerset asked the judge.
Burton, his attorney and his family all declined comment when leaving the courtroom. Phillips family says they just want justice.
“I want it to be fair. I really want to know what happened. Exactly what happened and why it happened. And I don't want it to ever happen to anyone again. No family should ever have to go to through this,” concluded Phillips.
Several members of Mothers against Drunk Driving were in the courtroom and they say they plan to be at every court appearance.
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