Police Chief's Accused Killer Requests Public Defender

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STANTON, Ky. (AP) - A man charged with shooting to death a small-town eastern Kentucky police chief he considered a friend appeared in court Friday morning and a judge ordered him held without bail.

Jamie Barnett, 37, wasn't asked to enter a plea. Instead, Powell County District Judge Kenneth Profitt assigned him a public defender and set a preliminary hearing for June 25.

Dressed in a blue jail-issued jumpsuit and surrounded by several extra security officers while seated at the front of the courtroom, Barnett didn't make eye contact with family members of the man he allegedly killed, Randy Lacy.

Barnett's oldest son, James Jr., 18, attended the arraignment and said it was extremely difficult watching his father in court.

"He's a good guy," James Barnett Jr. said. "When he's on drugs and stuff, you can't really get a lot of stuff out of him. Whenever he's off, he's like the best man in the world you'll ever meet. He's good hearted, would give you anything you wanted - the shirt off his back if he had it."

Barnett's wife and three other children - one just a month old - didn't appear in court. His uncle, Herbert Barnett, called it an unspeakable tragedy for two families that had been close.

"It's sad for both families," he said. "Lacy was my friend, and Jamie is my nephew. Now we've lost two people."

In an interview Thursday night with The Associated Press, Barnett said he was too high on drugs to recall any of the events that led up to the shooting.

"I feel like I'm dying inside," he said in the interview at the jail in Mount Sterling, about 15 miles away from the site of Wednesday's shooting. "I remember going to a liquor store and eating a handful of Xanax and ending up here." Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication.

Meanwhile, investigators were trying to determine how Lacy's gun was grabbed and used to shoot him in the back of the head at point-blank range. Barnett was handcuffed behind a wire and hard plastic barrier in the back seat of a squad car.

"That's kind of a mystery to us," said Powell County Coroner Carl Wells, who conducted an autopsy Thursday.

Barnett wore a jumpsuit Friday resembling the one he wore in the interview, but his brown hair, unshaven beard and mustache appeared to have been cleaned up for his appearance before the judge.

During the interview, he occasionally buried his face in his hands and had tears streaming down his face for most of the interview, which lasted about 12 minutes.

He teared up particularly when discussing his newborn daughter.

"I just want to tell her I love her," he said. Lacy was a family friend who had been working with him to try to get him off drugs, Barnett said. Sometimes at Christmas, the chief even played Santa for Barnett's children.

"I'd lay down there and let them stick a needle in my arm if it would bring him back," Barnett said.

Barnett said Lacy, who had arrested him numerous times, would always cuff him in the front "because he was my friend" and sometimes didn't handcuff him at all.

Kentucky State Police acknowledged that Lacy handcuffed Barnett in the front rather than behind his back - a frequent practice for suspects he knew.

Greg Adams, a Powell County sheriff's deputy, said Lacy often kept a second gun between the seat and console in the front. He speculated that the extra gun could have slipped to the back, but state police officials handling the investigation wouldn't comment on that theory.

Lacy, 55, had served 22 years in law enforcement and was the only active member of the police force in Clay City, a rural town of 1,300 people about 40 miles east of Lexington.

Although the final results of the autopsy weren't yet available, Wells said Lacy was shot at point-blank range in the back of the head. He was behind the wheel of his cruiser when he was shot, and the car swerved another 350 feet before colliding with a stop sign and rolling into a ditch, Wells said.

The bullet traveled through the backseat cage carrying Barnett, 37, whom Lacy had picked up just minutes earlier for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Barnett has an arrest record dating back to 1993, including multiple drug possession charges. He said he has been high on a variety of drugs, including cocaine, for at least six months but never intended to harm anyone.

"It wouldn't even cross my mind, no matter how messed up I got," he said.

His most recent arrest prior to the shooting took place April 9, when Barnett was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident, driving with a suspended or revoked license, driving without insurance, DUI and disorderly conduct.

A citation for the incident reports that he threatened a state trooper by saying, "Let me out of these handcuffs, I'll hurt you."

A procession of about three dozen police cars and fire trucks - some from as far as Louisville - followed a hearse carrying Lacy's body Thursday afternoon to Wells Funeral Home in Stanton, Ky., which is handling the arrangements.

Lacy's funeral was scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT Sunday at the Powell County High School gym, with burial in West Bend Cemetery.

Visitation was from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the funeral home.

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

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  • by missy Location: ky on Jun 20, 2007 at 11:38 PM
    well it i feel for the family, i do, but he was maybe to nice of a person, which in turn, hurt him in the end..The man should have been checked better, but maybe lacy was too trusting? I don't know....its a sad situation.....one man does not remember, one is dead...drugs in our state are here, people hide it because they do not want to face it, we need more strict laws against offenders..for the FIRST offence, instead of them getting off, over and over, to do more bad things..
  • by Jako Location: Richmond on Jun 19, 2007 at 07:59 AM
    Good question, Missy, and one that has been avoided I think on here because of sensitivity. No way a service revolver should have been in the backseat; no way he shouldn't have been searched before being put in the cage. I don't think it's fishy, but definitely sloppy. Was Lacy too nice? Yes. Or too relaxed.
  • by missy Location: ky on Jun 18, 2007 at 11:14 PM
    Can anyone answer as to why there was a gun in the floorboard of the cruiser? surely the this cop would not have left it there, and second did he not pad down this man before he put him in a car? something seems fishy about all this..no good police officer is going to leave a handgun in the back with the criminals and how could he have gotten the gun, with the cages in the car? my heart goes out to the lacy family, but somethings amiss here, i just can not see a gun being left in the back and the cage between the front and back, there was no way this man could have gotten it?
  • by Jay Location: Stanton on Jun 17, 2007 at 06:33 PM
    Our officers keep arresting and our Judges keep kicking them back out. Seems to me Powell county would get cleaned up if our Judges would do there jobs.
  • by Concerned Location: Stanton on Jun 16, 2007 at 12:16 PM
    In Memory Of Randy Lacy I ask that anyone that knows any drug dealers to report them to the KY State Police. I would hope if someone posted information as Names and addresses of dealers on this site that the TV Station would report it to the police. I hope now that Ted will make sure no more drugs are being smuggled into the Jail. I know people that are in Jail right now and they get all the drugs they want. People are afraid to report dealers. I would hope this TV Stanton would set up a site that people can report dealers without the fear of being beat or killed.I am 100% sure that if the State Police would stake out the site Of Randy's death that they be able to see a lot of the Drug Abusers and the Drug Dealers paying their respects to Randy. Randy was a good man but he wasn't perfect. He was killed because of a problem that He and his family helped create. I think that is why He and his Family has tried to make things right over the past few years. Making up for Mistakes. God Bless Randy and his Family. I hope his death changes you all for the better. Rest in Peace Randy! Thank You and God Bless you for all the lives you have saved. I hope out of respect of Randy that you will remember him as the true man he was, Not what you want to make him out to have been. People need to understand that people that has made mistakes can change their lives for the better. They also change the lives of others for the better. Just like Randy did for so many..Lets make Powell County a better place for our children in the honor of Randy.
  • by JAMES Location: JACKSON on Jun 16, 2007 at 10:37 AM
  • by Rick Location: Kimper on Jun 16, 2007 at 06:56 AM
    I am sorry for the loss for the family, its a shame this had to happen, i would make the vote for to put him to death, and to be done quickly.. just another person the tax payers has to keep up. Drugs are they worth messing other peoples life up, muchless your own.
  • by Kevin Location: Richmond on Jun 16, 2007 at 06:19 AM
    This is a terrible tragedy. I am praying for both the families of Mr. Lacy and Mr. Barnett. It is terrible that Mr. Barnett was on drugs. However, it's obvious he truly didn't want to hurt Mr. Lacy. The drugs he was on totally messed him up. The crimes--involving death and injuries--caused by alcoholism and other drug addictions are in such a gray area. The criminals should be held accountable for their actions, but, in cases like these where he's truly remorseful, the crimes should not be treated as pre-meditated or first degree. These people are not themselves when the addiction and the drugs take over.
  • by nicole travis Location: stanton on Jun 15, 2007 at 11:54 PM
    Im really sorry for happened to randy lacey, he was a good man..he would help me out when they need it..he was always there for people..
  • by Disabled Location: Formerly of KY on Jun 15, 2007 at 03:53 PM
    Drug abuse is a terrible thing it not only destroys the life of the abuser but his family and all that come in contact with them. My ex-husband used to be the kindest, most generous, loving and faithful man there was; after starting on "pot" he started lying and cheating with other women. As the years went by and he used more drugs, he started changing when he was "high" wanting to argue and hurt others with his words. Once when he mixed xanax with alcohol just as this man did he didn't know what he was doing and didn't remember a thing about the time he was"high", so don't discredit this man's word. He appears very remorseful for what has happened. I don't think he did it on purpose, and for once it was the cause of drugs. I'm sorry for both families and will pray for all the ones left behind. Until more is done not only to get rid of the drug dealers but to get treatment for the addicts this will continue to happen. Pray for this country, it's not only in KY but in every state everyone just makes a bigger deal of it being in KY.
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