JACKSBORO (WATE) – Jury selection starts Friday for the man with first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder for the deadly 2005 shooting at Campbell County High School.
Cathy Wilson lives and works in Campbell County and vividly remembers November 8, 2005.
“Kind of feels like it just happened. There were sirens going everywhere. They passed up on the four-lane going into the school, and the school went on lock down. It was a heart breaking day. Praying none of the kids were involved, praying no one was hurt. Praying, hoping it wasn’t real,” said Wilson.
Authorities say on that date, Bartley walked into Campbell County High School with a gun. He was then escorted to the office. Allegedly, that’s when administrators confronted him and Bartley fired the weapon.
Assistant Principal Ken Bruce was killed. Principal Gary Seale and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce were wounded.
“Yeah I knew of them. I wasn’t really close to them, but my heart went out to their families to their wives and children. Something like that would just be devastating. I don’t know, it was bad,” said Wilson.
Jim Pierce was shot in the chest. He says the shooting has impacted him both physically and emotionally.
“I have something that happened to me that has bothered me physically to some extent, but it’s a very emotional thing. It’s been a little over eight years, and it’s something you think about almost daily,” said Pierce.
Bartley was 14 years old at the time of the shooting and was to be tried as an adult. Bartley pleaded guilty in 2007 to the shootings in a plea deal. His family hired attorney Bruce Poston to file a motion to withdraw the guilty plea.
“They had pleaded to an agreed deal that was 41, 42, 43 years. It was a lot of time,” said Poston.
The motion was denied and then Greg Isaacs became Bartley’s attorney and filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that the initial lawyer involved in doing the plea was ineffective.
“What Greg actually ended up proving in the post-conviction was that Kenny really didn’t have but a few seconds to consider it and signed it because he was being told to sign it,” said Poston.
The judge withdrew the guilty plea.
“Now, Greg’s got the case and is going forward with the trial based on the initial charges. It’s like the plea never happened,” said Poston.
Jim Pierce, who was shot in the chest, says he’s not looking forward to going through the trial.
“Just the fact of having to go through it again and some of the people who will have to be brought into it, I hate for them to be confronted with all this again too,” said Pierce.
Cathy Wilson isn’t looking forward to the details and emotions of that day rushing back.
“It’s going to be a sad time again. Everybody is going to be sad again. I’m going to be sad,” said Wilson.
The trial is scheduled to start at the Campbell County Courthouse on Monday, February 24. The jury is being selected Friday out of Hamilton County. The defense attorney wanted to make sure the jurors had very little knowledge of or previous media exposure to the case.