Crime

Nunn pleads not guilty to Fayette murder charge

Former lawmaker Steve Nunn pleaded not guilty Thursday in Fayette Circuit Court to charges stemming from the shooting death of Amanda Ross, his ex-fiancée.

Nunn, 57, remained at the Fayette County Detention Center during the arraignment but appeared before Judge Kim Bunnell via video. Nunn's indictment on charges of murder and violating an emergency protective order came nearly two months after his arrest in Ross's death. Ross, 29, was shot to death Sept. 11 outside her downtown Lexington townhome.

On Thursday, Nunn's attorney, Warren Scoville, entered a not guilty plea on Nunn's behalf.

Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine has been assigned to handle Nunn's case. A status hearing was scheduled Jan. 15.

Several of Ross's family members and friends and advocates for domestic violence victims attended Nunn's arraignment, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo's wife, Mary Karen Stumbo. They were wearing badges with photos of Ross that said "Remember."

Greg Stumbo has prefiled a bill that would allow a judge to order some people with domestic violence orders against them to wear electronic monitoring devices.

Ross's mother, Diana Ross, declined to comment after the hearing. Amanda Ross's aunt Sandra Pelfrey said Nunn "doesn't deserve to be free — ever."

Scoville declined to comment.

Because of the charge of violating a protective order, which Ross had received against Nunn in March, Nunn could face the death penalty. The violation is considered an "aggravating circumstance," which allows Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson to seek the death penalty if he chooses. Larson has declined to say whether he has made a decision.

"We'll be filing appropriate motions at some point," he said Thursday.

Larson said that discovery for Nunn's case will be "voluminous." For that reason, the discovery hearing was scheduled for January.

Larson said there are so many documents that Scoville will have to go through.

Lexington police have been looking at Nunn's digital files as part of their investigation, including whether he had a nude photo of Ross on his cell phone as witnesses have said.

In July, a judge barred Nunn from having nude photos of Ross as part of a domestic violence order against him.

Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton confirmed in an interview this week that he had turned over to Lexington police a box of Nunn's personal items.

Eaton said that Johnny Hutchinson, a friend of Nunn's, called Eaton after the slaying and said Nunn had dropped off the box at Hutchinson's home the night before Ross was killed. Eaton said he did not look in the box before turning it over to Lexington police.

According to an affidavit for a search warrant from Lexington police, filed in Barren County on Sept. 11, Hutchinson said "Nunn had given him a box of personal items for safekeeping."

Meanwhile, Larson said Thursday that Scoville has not told him whether he would seek a change of venue.

Thursday's court appearance was Nunn's second arraignment this week.

On Tuesday, Nunn was arraigned in Hart County on six counts of wanton endangerment; he is accused of firing a .38-caliber pistol near six police officers who approached him just hours after officers found Ross's body lying in the parking lot outside her home. Nunn pleaded not guilty, and the judge scheduled the Hart County trial for June 14.

The son of former Gov. Louie Nunn, Steve Nunn served in the state legislature for 15 years and made an unsuccessful run for governor.

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