Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Steve Nunn Coverage

June 13, 2010

Hearing set on contents of box

LEXINGTON — A judge has set a July hearing to determine whether an external hard drive belonging to a former lawmaker charged with murder can be searched.

Police had begun examining the contents of the hard drive belonging to Steve Nunn after the Sept. 11 shooting death of Amanda Ross of Lexington, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Friday.

The 29-year-old Ross was Nunn’s former fiancee. Nunn, 57, the son of a former Kentucky governor, is being held in the Fayette County Jail and faces the death penalty in the woman’s shooting death outside her apartment.

Court documents unsealed Wednesday in Fayette Circuit Court revealed police stopped examining the hard drive when they came across an image of what appeared to them to be child pornography.   

The external hard drive was found in a box that Nunn had asked his friend Johnny Hutchison of Barren County to hide for him the night before the killing, according to court records.

On the morning of the fatal shooting, Hutchison called the Barren County sheriff about the box on the advice of his attorney, Bobby Richardson, according to court records. Several hours later, Sheriff Chris Eaton picked up the box, as well as a vase or jar, that Nunn had given Hutchison for safekeeping, according to court records.

A commonwealth’s attorney’s office’s motion for a court order to search the external hard drive and the defense’s response to that motion, both of which were filed in April, had been sealed until this week.

Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine unsealed those documents this week when she set the July 8 hearing date for the motion.

The commonwealth’s attorney’s office maintains no warrant was needed for the police search of the hard drive because Nunn had voluntarily relinquished control of the box and its contents to Hutchison, who, in turn, had voluntarily relinquished control of the items to Eaton. Prosecutors said they were asking for the court order “in an abundance of caution” because possible evidence of child pornography that might not be related to the Ross killing had been found on the hard drive.

“The motion speaks for itself, and beyond that, it really would be inappropriate to make any additional comments,” Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson said Thursday.

Attorneys for Nunn have argued in their response to the prosecution’s request that police had no legal right to begin the forensic investigation of the hard drive. They also said that Lexington police and Eaton — who opened the taped-shut box before giving it to Lexington police — had no right to search it.

The defense attorneys maintain that Nunn had an expectation of privacy when it came to the box and its contents, and that Hutchison, who has described himself as Nunn’s best friend, had no authority to consent to a police search of the items.

The defense attorneys, who said Nunn’s constitutional rights have been violated, are asking the court to deny the prosecution’s request for a court order. They also have asked the court not to allow items that were in the box to be introduced as evidence in the case.

Bette Niemi, one of Nunn’s attorneys, declined to comment Thursday.

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Steve Nunn Coverage
  • Nunn receives life without parole

    Steve Nunn, the former lawmaker and candidate for governor accused of the Sept. 11, 2009 murder of his former fiancée, Amanda Ross, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning in Fayette Circuit Court.

    June 29, 2011

  • Judge to decide relevance of Nunn's writings

    LEXINGTON — A judge is weighing whether jurors in the upcoming murder trial of a former state lawmaker may see a batch of writings seized from his car after his arrest on a charge of killing his one-time fiancée.

    June 22, 2011

  • Nunn case delayed in Hart County

    The case of a former state lawmaker charged with six counts of first-degree wanton endangerment involving law enforcement officers was passed for review to May on Tuesday in Hart County Circuit Court.

    December 8, 2010

  • Judge sets August 2011 trial for Steve Nunn

    A judge on Friday set an August 2011 trial date for a former state lawmaker charged with murder in the death of his ex-fiancee.

    October 12, 2010

  • Judge: Nunn’s hard drive can be searched

     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.

    September 29, 2010

  • Judge denies motion in Nunn case

    A Fayette circuit judge denied a motion by Steve Nunn’s defense attorneys Thursday to exclude consideration of the death penalty in his trial on charges he shot and killed his former fiancée.

    August 20, 2010

  • Nunn attorneys argue computer evidence

    Attorneys for a former Kentucky lawmaker accused of killing his ex-fiancee argued Thursday that child pornography and other evidence found on a computer hard drive should be disallowed because it was obtained through an improper police search.

    July 9, 2010

  • Hearing set on contents of box

    A judge has set a July hearing to determine whether an external hard drive belonging to a former lawmaker charged with murder can be searched.

    June 13, 2010

  • Nunn found competent to stand trial

    Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine ruled Monday that former state Rep. Steve Nunn is competent to stand trial for murder in the death of his former fiancée, Amanda Ross.

    April 6, 2010

  • Nunn ordered to undergo pyschiatric evaluation Nunn ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation A Fayette circuit judge ordered former lawmaker Steve Nunn to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he’s competent to assist his attorneys in his defense on murder charges.

    December 18, 2009 1 Photo