BOWLING GREEN — According to former Barren County Deputy Joseph Adam Minor, Billy Randall Stinnett was beaten by law enforcement officers while he was in handcuffs on Feb. 24, 2010. The question defense attorneys are putting before a jury in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green is, did Minor lie for the first two years after the incident, or has he been lying for the last year.
Minor was indicted along with Sheriff Chris Eaton, Deputy Aaron Bennett and Barren-Edmonson Drug Task Force Detective Eric Guffey on Feb. 15, 2012, for deprivation of rights and making false statements, for his alleged part in the beating of Stinnett. Like the three defendants now on federal trial, Minor entered an initial plea of not guilty, but on May 1, 2012, entered a guilty plea to one count of making a false statement to federal investigators. Minor has been a cooperating witness for the prosecution for the last year, and for most of Tuesday and Wednesday, Minor told his story on the witness stand.
When the former deputy arrived at the scene of Stinnett's arrest along with Bennett, Stinnett was already in handcuffs and non-combative with Eaton and Guffey, Minor testified under oath Tuesday and Wednesday. Minor approached Stinnett and kicked him at least twice, he said, because he was angry. Bennett began punching Stinnett in the head, and later Eaton and Bennett both struck Stinnett with their asp batons. The assault lasted less than a minute, but he knew there was no call for it, Minor testified. He was unsure, under cross examination, whether Guffey was in the presence of the beating for the whole time or if he left as it began or while it was under way.
The beating ended when Bennett allegedly and accidentally hit Eaton in the leg with his baton, Minor said. Eaton’s defense has maintained that Stinnett kicked Eaton, and upon cross examination J. Guthrie True asked Minor if he knew that Stinnett wrote in a civil deposition that he kicked Eaton. Minor said he was unaware Stinnett said that.