BOWLING GREEN — Attorneys Brian Butler and Buddy Alexander wrapped up final closing arguments for the defense Thursday, before the government had one final opportunity to tell the jury how there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, deputy Aaron Bennett and Barren-Edmonson Drug Task Force detective Eric Guffey beat Billy Randall Stinnett after he was handcuffed on Feb. 24, 2010.
“Eric Guffey didn’t hit anybody. Eric Guffey didn’t kick anybody. Eric Guffey didn’t hit anybody with a baton. And he didn’t sit by and watch anybody else do it either,” Butler said, starting his closing argument the same way he started his opening argument.
It means a lot, Butler said, that a federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent testified in a federal trial to the character and reputation of a defendant. ATF agent David Hayes’ Wednesday testimony demonstrates the respect Guffey has earned in the local law enforcement community, Butler said. It also means a lot that Guffey’s boss, Jeff Scruggs, testified on Guffey’s behalf.
“[Eric is] a good, decent, moral man and he didn’t do anything wrong,” Butler said.
No one has testified that Guffey ever actually hit Stinnett, Butler said. The government has alleged that Guffey aided and abetted a beating by handcuffing Stinnett. But though Butler said he doesn’t think there is evidence to prove an assault occurred once Stinnett was handcuffed, Guffey himself was doing his job when he handcuffed Stinnett in the course of a legitimate arrest. If Stinnett was assaulted after Guffey walked away, Butler told the jury that does not make him an aider and abettor.
There are two realities to be considered in this case, Butler said. One is the reality of the young witnesses who observed Stinnett’s arrest. Those children were young and sheltered, he said, and had never seen the violence of an arrest of a fleeing suspect.