Murder trial will stay in Rowan Co.

Judge will not reverse decision to move Montgomery murder trial

gkocher1@herald-leader.comNovember 17, 2009 

MOREHEAD — The murder trial of a Montgomery County woman accused of killing her husband will remain in Rowan County, a judge ruled Monday.

Pamela Bartley's defense attorneys had sought to move the trial back to Montgomery County, where the trial was delayed after a jury could not be seated in Mount Sterling.

Montgomery Circuit Judge William Mains decided in August to move the trial to Rowan County. Special Judge Janet Coleman said during a hearing Monday afternoon in Rowan Circuit Court that she was not inclined to reverse the decision of Mains, who has since retired.

Defense attorney Ben Shields argued that the case could have been tried in Montgomery County had there been a bigger pool from which to select jurors.

The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 7 in Morehead, and attorneys anticipate it will last eight days. Pam Bart ley is accused of killing Carl Bartley, a used-car dealer who was found shot in the back of the head in the garage of his Jeffersonville home in 2007.

At the request of the defense and prosecution, Coleman directed the Rowan Circuit Court Clerk's office to have a jury pool of 120 rather than the 74 originally scheduled.

"To be on the safe side, I'd rather have more than not enough," Coleman said.

She also scheduled a suppression hearing for Nov. 23 in Morehead. The defense seeks to exclude at trial evidence that Kentucky State Police obtained in searches of the Bartley home and a vehicle.

During a previous bond hearing, Mains had denied previous motions to suppress the fruit of those searches. Shields argued that the defense was entitled to a separate suppression hearing.

Coleman also took under submission a defense motion seeking to have the jury hear the results of a lie-detector test.

Shields said state police interviewed a woman with whom Carl Bartley allegedly was having an affair. During a polygraph test, police asked the woman whether she had killed Carl Bartley. The woman said no, but the test detected deception, Shields said.

Kentucky courts traditionally do not consider lie-detector tests to be admissible evidence.

And while Coleman said she would consider the defense motion for a hearing, she said the type of hearing that Shields sought typically isn't held if the matter pertains to a matter of "settled case law."

"You don't rehash if it's a subject that has already been litigated," Coleman said.

Greg Kocher covers Montgomery County for the Herald-Leader. Reach him in the Nicholasville bureau at (859) 885-5775.

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