Steve Nunn

Nunn's need for help stressed in e-mails

FRANKFORT — Shortly after taking out a protective order against her ex-fiancé in February, Amanda Ross told family and friends that she didn't want former state Rep. Steve Nunn to lose his high-profile state job — she just wanted him to get help.

Ross, 29, was shot outside her Lexington home on Sept. 11.

Nunn, who resigned from his job as the deputy secretary for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in March because of the February 17 fight with Ross, has been charged with her murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

In e-mails to family and friends, including Nunn's daughter, Ross said that she decided to seek protection from the court after Nunn's behavior became increasingly violent and erratic.

"If I didn't report it this time, I would be where I was and it was only escalating," Ross wrote in a Feb. 28 e-mail to a friend. "I hate that personal matters were made public, but I was scared. And still am. I appreciate your note. I just hope that this does not get any worse. I only have good intentions of preventing it from happening to his next girlfriend and getting him the help he needs and most of all to protect myself."

On Feb. 17, Ross called police after she said Nunn hit her at her Lexington home. In March, a judge ordered a domestic violence order of protection against Nunn. Nunn entered an Alford plea — he admitted no guilt, but acknowledged there is enough evidence to produce a guilty verdict— to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in August.

According to court documents and testimony related to the domestic violence charges, Ross and Nunn began dating in September 2007 and he moved into her home in March 2008. He later moved out in October 2008 but the two kept in close contact.

Ross worked at the Kentucky Department of Insurance. The e-mails were obtained through the state's Open Records Act.

Among those e-mails was a chain of communication between Nunn and a co-worker at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. In July 2008 Nunn wrote to the co-worker: "You are so bad to not show up and help me. I'm gonna have to discipline you. Let's see. Maybe a good spanking? You'd probably like that wouldn't you?"

Nunn later apologized to the woman, saying that he realized that it was inappropriate to make those kind of comments via e-mail. "There is no place for that type comment and I regret that I sent it. Please accept my apology. It won't happen again. Steve."

The e-mails also contain a Feb. 27 text message from Nunn's daughter, Mary Nunn, asking that Ross dismiss the charges against her father because he may lose his job. "Please drop the charges against my dad. He is going to lose his job in the morning if they hav (sic) not been dropped," said the text message sent to Ross's state-issued Blackberry.

Ross replied that she could not drop the charges. "He did some terrible things to me many times. Someone like that should be held accountable. My intent was not to jeopardize his job, it was to make him accountable and get him out of my life."

Ross also reminded Mary Nunn that the protective order said Steve Nunn could not instruct a third party to contact her. "He's already violated it twice," Ross wrote in a text message.

Ross said that she had never been in an abusive relationship before and thought that taking out the order would cause Nunn to get the help he needed.

"I did the only thing I could do to keep him permanently away from me. Never been in an abusive relationship before, the cycle just kills you..." Ross said in a Feb. 26 e-mail to a friend. "It seems like a lot of burdens are placed on the victim ... I just want him to get the help he needs, for it to never happen to another woman in the future that he has a relationship with and not for it (to) jeopardize any other aspects of his life."

In March, after receiving an encouraging e-mail from a friend, Ross appeared more upbeat.

"I finally got the courage to move forward! It took a lot of me, but I know I did the right thing. He needs lots of help," Ross wrote on March 6, two days after she received the domestic violence order of protection.

On March 11, Ross told a friend "I am doing well ... just trying to stay in (literally). No going out for me for a while! Today is the arraignment. I just hope that he leaves me alone and gets help ... and that the process will move quickly. I hate it."

But Nunn kept asking for delays in the case, which began to frustrate Ross.

"He is such an a$$. Can you believe they drag this out for so long?" Ross wrote in May.

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