Prosecutors to seek death penalty in Nunn case

Nunn's prosecutors file notice of their intent

kward1@herald-leader.comApril 7, 2010 

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty in the murder case against former state Rep. Steve Nunn, who is accused of shooting Amanda Ross last year.

Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said his office had "filed a notice of aggravating circumstance and notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the Nunn case."

Larson declined to comment Tuesday night on the decision.

Nunn, 57, was indicted in November on charges of murder and violating a domestic violence order of protection that Ross had received against him earlier last year.

The alleged violation of the protective order is the "aggravating circumstance" that allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

Nunn has pleaded not guilty.

Attempts to reach his attorney, Warren Scoville, were unsuccessful Tuesday night.

"As family and friends, we will continue to be vigilant in following this case to its conclusion," said Dale Emmons, a friend of the Ross family. "We want justice to be served because Amanda's gone, and we can't bring her back."

As for the decision to seek the death penalty, Emmons said: "We're going to let the judges and the prosecutors do their job. We're not going to interject ourselves. ... We'll support whatever the outcome is."

Ross's mother, Diana Ross, declined to comment on the development, saying she did not want to say or do anything that might hinder the case against Nunn.

Amanda Ross, 29, was Nunn's former fiancée. She was found shot in front of her townhouse in downtown Lexington on Sept. 11.

Nunn was found hours after her death in the Hart County cemetery where his mother and father, former Gov. Louie B. Nunn, are buried. He had slit his wrists, and, according to court documents, he fired a handgun when officers arrived and asked him to put down the gun.

Nunn, who is being held in the Fayette County Detention Center, has been found competent to stand trial.

At a competency hearing in Fayette Circuit Court on Monday, state psychiatrist Amy J. Trivette testified Nunn "does have the capacity to appreciate the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him and that he does have an ability to participate rationally in his own defense."

A status hearing in the case is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 21.

A bill named in Ross's honor is pending in the state legislature. House Bill 1, "Amanda's Bill," is aimed at increasing protections for victims of domestic violence by giving judges the option of requiring the accused to wear a global-positioning tracking device.

Reach Karla Ward at (859) 231-3314 or 1-800 950-6397, Ext. 3314.

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