Montgomery wife's missing gun at issue

MOREHEAD — Pam Bartley, the Montgomery County woman on trial for murder in the 2007 shooting death of her husband, would not answer a state police detective's questions about the location of her .38-caliber pistol, which police say she used to kill him, according to an audiotape played Tuesday for the jury.

"If you had nothing to do with his death, absolutely nothing, what does it hurt to talk to me?" Detective Larry Bowling asked Bartley during a conversation he taped Sept. 7, 2007. The conversation took place in Bowling's cruiser two months after used-car dealer Carl Bartley was found shot to death in the garage of his Jeffersonville home.

But during cross-examination, defense attorney Jim Lowry of Lexington reminded Bowling that another attorney, Ben Shields, had instructed Pam Bartley not to speak about the homicide investigation.

"She made it clear to you that Mr. Shields had told her not to talk about that investigation," Lowry said.

Shields had instructed Bartley to answer questions only about an incident allegedly involving Thomas Lee. He is the brother of Katherine Lee, a woman with whom Carl Bartley had a five-year affair. Pam Bartley found out about the relationship in July 2007. Carl Bartley was found shot in the back of the head July 31.

Police never found the gun used in the shooting but know he was shot with a .38 — the same caliber gun that Pam Bartley carried in her purse.

The defense has portrayed Katherine Lee as being enraged that Carl Bartley would not leave his wife and as having threatened to blackmail him. Lee testified earlier in the trial that she was not interested in marrying Carl Bartley because that would have meant losing disability checks, which were her source of income.

On the tape played Tuesday, Pam Bartley told Bowling that Thomas Lee had shot at her and her son, Bradley Bart ley, while they were in a car in rural Montgomery County. Pam Bartley told Bowling — and Bradley Bartley testified Monday — that Thomas Lee also had smashed a back window of the Nissan Altima with a baseball bat as the car drove around Lee's van, which was blocking the gravel lane on the property they were leaving.

Bowling testified that Lee was never arrested or charged in the incident described by Pam Bartley and Bradley Bartley. Bowling said he went to talk to Pam Bartley because he had received word from the Kentucky State Police post at Morehead that she wanted to talk to a detective.

Before the interview begins, Bowling is heard on the tape reading Bartley her Miranda rights.

Bartley tells Bowling that she thought Thomas Lee had killed her husband. But Bowling tells her, "I don't think he was the one who pulled the trigger. I don't think Thomas Lee did."

Bowling also tells Bartley: "You shot him. I believe that. I do. ... If you had nothing to do with it, you'd be beating on my door, wanting to know what happened."

Pam Bartley does not address the detective's accusations, but asks, "Does anybody understand that I'm in danger? Does anybody care?"

During his cross-examination, Lowry asked whether Bowling ever received an admission from Pam Bartley during the taped conversation that lasted 97 minutes.

"No, sir," Bowling said.

On redirect, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Cynthia Gale Rose asked Bowling, "You never got a denial, either, did you?"

"No, ma'am, I didn't," Bowling said.

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