Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

September 29, 2010

Judge: Nunn’s hard drive can be searched

Associated Press

LEXINGTON —  A judge ruled Tuesday that prosecutors in the case of a former state lawmaker charged with killing his ex-fiancee can continue to search a computer hard drive that authorities say contained child pornography.

Fayette Circuit Court Judge Pamela Goodwine also ruled against motions by attorneys for Steve Nunn to suppress evidence taken from a Honda Accord he had driven to and from his Glasgow home.

The 57-year-old Nunn, a former state legislator from Glasgow, is charged with shooting 28-year-old Amanda Ross to death outside her Lexington townhouse on Sept. 11, 2009. A judge had ordered him to stay away from her under the terms of a domestic violence order.

Goodwine ruled at a hearing in August that Nunn can face the death penalty if convicted.

Nunn’s attorneys had argued at the hearing that a box of evidence he had asked a friend to hold for him the night before the murder should be excluded from trial. Lawyers say items in the box included a hard drive that contained pornographic images of girls ages 10 to 12, as well as photos of an unclothed Ross and other naked women.

Nunn’s attorneys, Warren Scoville, of London, and Bette Niemi, of Louisville, said the material should be barred because police searched it without a warrant.

In a 13-page ruling, Goodwine said that because Nunn took steps to carry out a plan to commit suicide, he had “abandoned the cardboard box and its contents and thus no longer had any expectation of privacy in those items.”

She also said that, because an initial search of the hard drive contained child pornography, there is probable cause to believe it contains evidence of a crime.

Goodwine, however, ruled that any new evidence prosecutors uncover could be subject to future defense motions.

She also said that a separate order setting a trial date, as well as pretrial and discovery deadlines, would be filed Oct. 8.