BOWLING GREEN — As lead investigator FBI agent Mike Brown was cross examined Tuesday morning in the federal deprivation of rights trial against Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, deputy Aaron Bennett and drug task force detective Eric Guffey, he faced a litany of questions from defense attorneys regarding how he collected evidence in the three-year investigation, and whether the evidence was sufficient.
J. Guthrie True, defense counsel for Eaton, began Tuesday’s court session, picking up where he left off Monday afternoon. The charge against Eaton of making false statements is based solely on Eaton’s statement that no one hit Billy Randall Stinnett on Feb. 24, 2010, after he was in handcuffs, True said, and Brown agreed. The witnesses who contradict that statement are teenagers who were watching from Calvary Baptist Church, and government cooperating witness Adam Minor, who changed his initial story after he was indicted. All the defendants have stated that Stinnett was not assaulted in any way after he was handcuffed, and their written statements generally agree with their verbal statements.
True continued along his Monday line of questioning, asking Brown about different situations throughout the investigation in which Brown chose not to take certain steps. When he inspected Stinnett’s van on March 12, 2010, Brown said he did not choose to use any testing technique other than visual inspection to look for blood. He also declined to take Eaton’s baton to test for blood, when Eaton offered it. In his report of his April 20, 2010 interview of Eaton, Brown chose not to include that Eaton told him he had used his baton only twice in 16 years.
Further, True called into question the allegation that the defendants conspired in a cover-up. The defendants could have taken steps to clean up blood at the scene of the arrest, justified by Stinnett’s Hepatitis C, True said, but they did not go to those lengths to hide anything they did. Brown’s response was that “maybe they didn’t think about it.”