Man charged with gunning down Somerset attorney pleads not guilty to murder

bestep@herald-leader.comJune 30, 2014 

SOMERSET — The man accused of killing a prominent defense attorney in southern Kentucky pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Monday.

The court-appointed attorney representing Clinton David Inabnit, 40, entered the plea for him during a short hearing in Pulaski District Court.

Inabnit is charged in the slaying of Mark J. Stanziano, 57, of Somerset. Inabnit allegedly ambushed Stanziano as he came to work Friday and shot him multiple times on the sidewalk in front of Stanziano's office in downtown Somerset.

A sheriff's detective saw the shooting and quickly handcuffed Inabnit, according to police.

Judge Jeffrey Scott Lawless set bond for Inabnit at $250,000 cash, or double that amount in property. If he is able to post bond, Inabnit will be under house arrest and electronically monitored, Lawless ordered.

Inabnit said little publicly during the hearing, and seemed calm and answered clearly when Lawless asked his name. Inabnit was handcuffed to a chain around his waist.

Stanziano's widow, Bethany Stanziano, and other family members and friends attended the hearing. Several left in tears. They did not speak with the media.

Lawless scheduled a preliminary hearing for Inabnit on July 16. The purpose of that hearing will be for Lawless to determine whether there is probable cause to waive the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery said earlier he hoped to present the case to the grand jury in August.

Richard B. Leary, an attorney from Covington, agreed to represent Inabnit because attorneys in the local office of the Department for Public Advocacy were close to Stanziano.

Inabnit's mental competency could become an issue in the case at some point.

Bethany Stanziano and others have said it seemed Inabnit had mental problems.

Inabnit lived across the street from Stanziano's office and often stopped Stanziano to talk to him.

Inabnit had talked to Stanziano on Thursday about getting help with a problem. Police have not disclosed what the issue was but said it was not something an attorney could have resolved.

However, Inabnit told police he got angry at Stanziano because he wouldn't help and decided to kill him.

Inabnit allegedly waited for Stanziano to arrive for work Friday just before 8 a.m., then approached Stanziano as he walked toward his office and shot him without warning.

Bethany Stanziano said her husband had helped Inabnit a number of times — buying him lunch just days before the shooting — and recently had offered to pay for him to see a doctor and help get him back on his medication.

Leary said it was too soon for him to comment at length on the case but did say he would not rule out raising Inabnit's mental competency as an issue.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1.

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