Prominent Kentucky GOP pol charged with murder in ex-fiancee's death

Lexington Herald-LeaderSeptember 14, 2009 

MUNFORDVILLE, Ky. — Police in Lexington, Ky., late Monday obtained an arrest warrant charging prominent Kentucky Republican politician Steve Nunn with murder in the slaying of his former fiancee, Amanda Ross.

Nunn, 56, was also charged with violation of a protective order. The warrants were served on Nunn at the Hart County jail here, police said.

Nunn, the son of former Gov. Louie B. Nunn, a one-time gubernatorial himself, a former member of the state cabinet and a former state legislator, had been in the Medical Center at Bowling Green, Ky., since Friday, when police found him in a Hart County cemetery with his wrists slit just hours after Ross was shot to death in Lexington.

Lexington police had said Nunn was someone they wanted to question in Ross's death, but they had not named him as a suspect.

As to the timing of the charges, Lexington police spokesman Lt. Doug Pape said, "We simply applied charges when we thought we had probable cause."

Dale Emmons, a close friend of the Ross family, said he was not surprised by the charges Lexington police filed against Nunn.

"As soon as we heard the news, we all arrived at the same conclusion: that we thought that he had something to do with it," he said.

Emmons said he was surprised that the murder charge had "come this quickly."

Emmons said Monday night that Ross' family was focused on remembering her life, and there will be plenty of time in the weeks and months to come for discussion of the criminal case.

"We celebrate who Amanda was and what she did," he said.

Visitation for Ross has been scheduled for Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Carrick House; her funeral will be Wednesday.

Lexington police obtained the warrants late Monday evening — a few hours after Vice-Chief Regional District Judge Derek Reed had set Nunn's bond at $57,000 on six charges of wanton endangerment of a police officer in Hart County for allegedly firing a gun near police officers.

Nunn was delivered to the Hart County Jail by Kentucky State Police shortly before 10:30 a.m. CDT Monday after spending the weekend in the hospital. He was scheduled to be back in court in Hart County at 11 a.m. Monday for an arraignment.

Attorney Astrida Lemkins, who said she will be representing Nunn, initially thought Nunn would have been released Tuesday morning. That was before the murder charge was filed.

Lemkins said Nunn's bond for the wanton endangerment charges was high. "I've never heard anything so high, especially for something so questionable" and said the judge is "off the wall."

Pape said the courts will determine when Nunn will be transferred to Lexington.

Lexington police have said Nunn has been "a person we would like to talk to" ever since Ross' slaying.

According to court documents, when officers first arrived at the Hart County cemetery, where Nunn's parents are buried, they saw Nunn with a handgun. They asked him to put down the gun, but it was fired in the area where the officers were standing. Nunn went to the ground along with the gun, documents say. Nunn was then taken to The Medical Center.

That Friday, at 6:36 a.m., Ross, 29, was found lying in the back corner of the parking lot at Opera House Square Townhomes, 541 West Short Street. She died later that morning at University of Kentucky Medical Center.

Lexington police notified other agencies to look for Nunn because he and Ross have had a tumultuous relationship that prompted a judge to grant Ross a domestic violence order against Nunn earlier this year.

Nunn entered an Alford plea — he admitted no guilt, but acknowledged there is enough evidence to produce a guilty verdict — on Aug. 3 in Fayette County to a misdemeanor domestic violence assault charge.

On Monday, Emmons said Ross also got a license to carry a gun to protect herself after she obtained the protective order.

"Amanda used everything she could in the legal system to protect herself from a predator who was lying in wait for her but nothing worked," Emmons said.

"She took proper training for it and got instructions on self-defense with a weapon," he said. "She was so scared, and she took steps to protect herself."

Read the full story at Kentucky.com

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