Courts & Crime

Kentucky politician Nunn gets life for fiancée's murder

Former state lawmaker Steve Nunn has pleaded guilty to intentional murder with an aggravating circumstance in the 2009 death of Amanda Ross, his former fiancée.

Nunn, who was set to go on trial in early August, entered the plea Tuesday morning in Fayette Circuit Court after negotiating a deal with prosecutors. Nunn waived formal sentencing, and Judge Pamela Goodwine sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Nunn also pleaded guilty to violating an emergency protective order, or domestic-violence order, and was given a 12-month sentence. The violation of that order was considered to be the "aggravator" in the murder case — and the reason Nunn had been facing the death penalty. The sentences are to run concurrently.

One of Nunn's attorneys, Warren Scoville, said the guilty pleas were made to avoid a possible death sentence for Nunn.

The pleas came as a surprise for many. They also put an end to a two-year legal case, which had drawn the attention of the national media, including the CBS show 48 Hours Mystery, ABC's 20/20, CNN and even Glamour magazine. The case grabbed headlines, in large part, because Nunn and Ross come from families that are very well-known.

Nunn is the son of a former Kentucky governor and a member of a family that has been well-known in national Republican politics, and Ross is the daughter of the late Terrell Ross, founder of the politically connected financial company Ross, Sinclaire & Associates.

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