Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

November 14, 2012

More charges added against Barren County Sheriff Eaton

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Two new counts have been added to the list of charges pending against Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton in a federal deprivation of rights case.

At about 12 p.m. on Wednesday, the prosecution filed a second superseding indictment in Eaton's case, which added a 12th and 13th count, both specifically aimed at Eaton.

The 13-count indictment, the first version of which was filed in February, alleges that Eaton and deputies Aaron Bennett, Joseph Adam Minor and Eric Guffey, deprived a man of his rights by using unnecessary force during an arrest and then lied to federal investigators about the incident.

Billy Randall Stinnett led law enforcement on a two-county car chase with a mobile methamphetamine lab in the van he was driving on Feb. 24, 2010. The charges against Eaton, Bennett, Minor and Guffey stem from Stinnett's allegations that he was beaten after the officers handcuffed him. Stinnett agreed to a plea deal that sentenced him to 20 years in prison for charges of wanton endangerment, fleeing or evading police, criminal mischief, assault and leaving the scene of the accident.

Minor pleaded guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators on May 1, and now awaits sentencing. Eaton, Bennett and Guffey have maintained not guilty pleas.

According to count 12 in the newest indictment, Eaton allegedly assaulted Stinnett “by striking him in the area of his groin,” thereby depriving him of his right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by one acting under the color of law.

Count 13 added a new charge to the overall indictment, destruction of record, document, tangible object.

Between Feb. 24 and April 24, 2010, Eaton and “T.P. (not charged herein)” aided and abetted one another by knowingly destroying evidence with the intent to impede an FBI investigation, “to wit, deleting photographic evidence which depicted defendant Eaton in the act of assaulting (Stinnett),” the indictment said.

J. Guthrie True, defense attorney for Eaton, said the extra charges did not take him by surprise.

See the full story in the print or E-edition of Thursday's Glasgow Daily Times.