Accused Cop Killer Enters Not Guilty Plea

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STANTON, Ky. (AP) - A prosecutor said Tuesday she'll seek the death penalty for a man charged with killing a small-town eastern Kentucky police chief, while two of the officer's brothers appeared split on whether the ultimate punishment would be appropriate.

Attorneys for James Barnett entered a not guilty plea for Barnett on charges that he killed Clay City Police Chief Randy Lacy while Lacy was taking him to jail in a squad car on June 13.

During Barnett's arraignment in Powell County Circuit Court, Commonwealth's Attorney Lynn Herald said she plans to prosecute the slaying as a "capital offense and seek the death penalty."

Barnett was indicted on June 22 on charges of capital murder, escape and theft.

Barnett was escorted into the courtroom under heavy security. Several members of the Barnett and Lacy families were on hand, including Lacy's brother, Garland Lacy, who served as the court bailiff for the proceedings.

Garland Lacy said afterward it was a tragedy for two local families that had been close. However, he said his brother would have wanted the justice system to work itself out - even if that means the death penalty for a man he considered a friend.

"I want him to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Garland Lacy said. "I want him to be defended to the best of the defense's ability. At the end of the judicial process if he is found guilty and receives the death penalty, he will have no one to blame but himself."

Another brother, Chester Lacy, said he hoped the death penalty wouldn't be imposed.

"Our family's a Christian family," he said. "I've been asked a lot about hatred in my heart for James Barnett. I hate that my brother's been shot and killed by him, but I don't have hatred in my heart. I want to go to heaven some day, and I can't if I have hatred in my heart for that man."

Marcus Jones, one of Barnett's court-appointed attorneys, said he was surprised prosecutors were pushing for death.

"It's supposed to be a matter of last resort," Jones said.

Circuit Judge Frank Fletcher ordered Barnett back in court July 18 for a pretrial conference that he said would mostly deal with scheduling.

Barnett said in an interview last month with The Associated Press that he didn't remember the shooting because he was high on drugs and would exchange his life for Lacy's if he could. He also didn't know how he got the gun. Officials have said Lacy cuffed Barnett's hands in front rather than behind his back.

A coroner said Lacy was shot point-blank in the back of his head with a single bullet fired from his own gun. The car collided with a stop sign and rolled into a ditch, allowing Barnett to try to escape through a window, police said.

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

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  • by Anonymous on Jul 17, 2007 at 04:32 PM
    What about Shawn that came from Detroit with the drugs he sold to him, then high tailed it back to Detroit after this murder- Need to get the drugs off the streets
  • by Rob Location: London on Jul 6, 2007 at 07:59 AM
    Why don't we blame the real problem...a criminal that has been in trouble many times.He is a thug and I am so tired of everyone blaming something else or someone else when they get in trouble.He has been in trouble for years and gets right back out to do it again.I am sick of people feeling sorry for people that won't help themselves.I have had friends on drugs and taken people to the hospital on drugs and they never tried to murder me.It is not the drugs it is having no soul or heart.If people actually had consequences to their actions things would be different.
  • by Voice of Reason Location: Lexington on Jul 6, 2007 at 04:48 AM
    If a person's looks qualified them as scum, just look at pictures of Albert Einstein; he surely did not look like a genius. While poverty does play a role in drug abuse/addiction as Mike from Lexington put it, I don't believe that reasoning can always be used. The people who abuse drugs the most are the ones you never hear about; those who were born with the silver spoon in their mouth to where Mommy and Daddy gave them everything (material wise) that they could ever want. Fortunately, those type of drug abusers also have the funding to enter treatment/rehab centers to fight their addiction. I have known people who were the poorest of the poor and they never touched drugs and taught their children that they were evil. The bottom line on drug abuse is self control. Everybody is different in that aspect and cannot be lumped into one category. Back to the topic of scum...his looks may not qualify him as scum to people like myself and others, but his past history surely can be brought into light if you feel the need to use that word. Most people learn from their mistakes; for others the learning process is non-existent and they will always repeat their mistakes. They system MAY have failed with Barnett, but in reality, Barnett failed himself. Responsibility for one's actions needs to be addressed more in society instead of blaming the problem on something else.
  • by someone who cares Location: stanton on Jul 5, 2007 at 06:30 PM
    To the Lacy family:Ive lived hear all my life,and no some of you well.I know no words will neverbe eoughbut i hope God will bless your hearts. And see your hrut put to rest.Iknow Randy will watch over you all.
  • by LauraLee Location: Pekin,Indiana on Jul 5, 2007 at 11:09 AM
    Tina's family chain has been broken and the whole family will never be the same because of the choices this man made at the time.He is a long term user of drugs and he knew what he was doing,if he was "out of it" like he has said then how did he have ideas and energy to act and carry out what he did? He had to of had the thought of doing what he did.If he is known to play dumb blonde to try to get out of things , shows he has back up plan's.Who are we to say one has to die,but if one kills then he shall have the same done to him. Tina honey I say many prayers for you and the family and with time it does heal hurt in your heart. LauraLee
  • by someone who cares Location: stanton on Jul 5, 2007 at 06:16 AM
    I new both of these men and jammie has played crazy and dum more times the i can count,lets not let that change what he has done !! Idont belive the death penalty .But this man has to pay for what hes done .Drugs or no drugs. Randy was the best officer we had in claycity.What or you good ol boys going to do now?
  • by A Friend Location: ky. on Jul 5, 2007 at 05:30 AM
  • by Jack Location: Pike County on Jul 4, 2007 at 07:26 AM
    It's time we quit letting these people use drugs or "I'm an addict and can't help myself" as an excuse for crimminal acts.
  • by Lavonna Location: Stanton on Jul 4, 2007 at 06:32 AM
    Dawn, you don't know for sure that if Randy had followed procedures that he would still be here..Why would you even place the blame on him? What would be the lesson that WE all should learn here?
  • by Me Location: Kentucky on Jul 3, 2007 at 09:42 PM
    Dawn from Stanton why don't you call the law enforcement and see what procedure were not followed, and let us know what he did wrong. Maybe you will get an award for solving it. Your really cold hearted. I bet if it had been one of your family members you would have thought different.
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