By AMANDA LOVIZA VICKERY
Glasgow Daily Times
As 2012 came to a close, the Glasgow Daily Times staff embarked upon its annual ritual of reviewing the top 10 stories of the year. The following stories have been chosen by the editorial staff to reflect the year’s top moments in everything from sports to courtroom news.
• All eyes turned to the Barren County Sheriff’s Office in February for what turned out to be the most attention-grabbing story of the year.
On Feb. 15, 2012, Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, deputies Aaron Bennett, Danny Robert “Bobby” McCown, Joseph Adam Minor and Barren-Edmonson County Drug Task Force detective Eric Guffey were indicted in U.S. District Court on charges that stemmed from a Feb. 24, 2010, arrest incident. McCown was later removed from the indictment. Charges for Eaton, Bennett, Guffey and Minor encompass deprivation of rights under color of law, aiding and abetting, witness tampering, falsification of a document, false statements and destruction of records, documents or tangible objects.
Prosecutors with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice allege that the defendants beat Billy Randall Stinnett after placing him in handcuffs on Feb. 24, 2010, and subsequently lied to federal investigators about it. Minor pleaded guilty in May to one count of making a false statement to federal investigators. The three remaining defendants have made several court appearances in Bowling Green, and after two delays the trial is set for April 29, 2013.
• The Barren County Fiscal Court started 2012 with the decision to hire a private investigator to look into allegations, presented by magistrates, of misconduct at the Barren County Detention Center. The fiscal court spent $3,500 to hire Michael J. Ober, of Louisville.
Not being a law enforcement officer, Ober was not allowed by Jailer Matt Mutter to enter the jail. After three months, Ober presented a summary report to the fiscal court based on 11 days of work. Ober recited a long list of allegations against the jail, including inmate abuse, falsification of records and inappropriate physical relationships between jail employees. Mutter denied the allegations.
The fiscal court voted for Ober to give his full report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stating in a meeting the court’s belief that not having the report would prevent it from being a public record.
The Glasgow Daily Times filed an open records for Ober’s full report, which was denied by the fiscal court. An ongoing open records battle ensued, in which Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Barren County Circuit Court Judge Phil Patton each ruled that the Daily Times had a right to view all of Ober’s investigative documents.
The case is currently pending in the Kentucky Court of Appeals, as the fiscal court has appealed each of the rulings.
• As the construction of the outpatient and wellness facility TJ Health Pavilion continued, some members of the medical and greater community proclaimed their dissatisfaction with T.J. Samson Community Hospital’s direction and growing influence on the community.
Cardiologist Dr. Melissa Walton-Shirley and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Barret Lessenberry, two doctors not affiliated with the hospital, called a community health care forum in August to discuss concerns about the hospital. The forum created a group of committees made up of community members who have reportedly met with hospital officials, and the Glasgow Daily Times published a series of articles addressing major aspects of the hospital and its sister company, TJ Health Partners.
• Former Monroe County Sheriff, Tompkinsville Police Chief and deputy sheriff Herbert “Sprocket” Proffitt, 82, was shot and killed on Aug. 28 at his home on Rush Lane. Charles Hammer, 81, of Tompkinsville, was arrested the next day and allegedly confessed to the crime. Hammer had been arrested by Proffitt in 2002, and law enforcement officials stated revenge was considered a factor in the killing. Hammer was arraigned in November and entered a plea of not guilty. A suppression hearing for the case is scheduled for May 9, 2013, to be followed by a pretrial conference on May 15.
• The Glasgow High School girls basketball team made a run to the state tournament for the first time in school history. The Lady Scotties finished the regular season with a record of 23-4, but lost 54-49 to the Butler Bearrettes in the first round of the Girls Sweet 16 State Basketball Championship in March.
For the full story, see the print or e-edition of the Jan. 2 Glasgow Daily Times.