A judge rules on whether a statement made by accused Campbell County high school shooter Kenneth Bartley can be admitted as evidence against him in his trial.


A Judge ruled on key evidence Wednesday in the new trial against accused Campbell County school shooter Kenneth Bartley as the family of the victim prepares to open eight year old wounds.

"I hate it," said Ken Bruce's widow, Jo Bruce. "I hate for Kenny and his family but I hate it worse for mine. They get to see him. They get to talk to him and we don't get that."

Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood denied Bartley's request to suppress a statement he gave law enforcement after the November 2005 shooting. Bartley, who was only 14 at the time, pleaded guilty to shooting and killing Assistant Principal Ken Bruce and wounding Principal Gary Seale and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce in the Campbell County High School office.

In 2011, a judge ordered Bartley's previous guilty plea thrown out, after his attorney argued that he had been pressured into the plea and didn't have the time to discuss it with his parents.

Bartley's attorney, Greg Isaacs, argued in court Wednesday that Bartley did not understand his constitutional rights and was under the influence of prescription pills when he gave the statement to sheriff's deputies. He also argued that his parents should have been aware before their son gave incriminating statements.

Judge Blackwood said the state proved Bartley was advised twice of his rights and had the ability to understand the legal terms. Blackwood said the investigator did not believe Bartley was intoxicated and therefore he will allow the statement in the trial.

The Bruce family got a preview of what the February trial will be like for them. The family didn't have to sit through a trial the first time. They are preparing for the difficultly of hearing the details of the crime.

"Certainly it's going to be hard to look at the evidence and very difficult to see the pictures and hear the words. But we're going to do it," said Ken Bruce's widow, Jo Bruce.

A lot has changed in eight years for Bartley, who has grown from a young teenager to a man, and for the Bruce family.

"My son since he lost his father had a child. I'm a grandmother and I want her to know more about her grandfather than this," said Jo Bruce. "My youngest son married this past summer and we have another teacher in our family. I want them to be able to move forward in their marriage without this. I think we deserve it."

She and her family plan to be there for every moment of the trial.

"We will be here. We will be here with dignity. We owe that to Ken and the men that are alive today," she said.

Bartley's trial is set for February 24th.

The jury will not be from Campbell County. The court clerk said the jury pool will be chosen from Hamilton County.

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