Surviving victims testify in Kenny Bartley school shooting trial

Kenny Bartley
Kenny Bartley

JACKSBORO (WATE) – Two of the victims testified Tuesday in the Campbell County High School shooting trial.

Kenny Bartley, then 14, is accused of bringing a gun to Campbell County High School on November 8, 2005. When administrators confronted him, Bartley allegedly fired the weapon.

Assistant Principal Ken Bruce was killed. Principal Gary Seale and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce were wounded.

Opening statements were held Monday, with testimony from a classmate of Bartley’s, School Resource Officer Susan Phillips, and a substitute teacher.

Tuesday’s testimony began with EMT Gary Sheckles who said he saw the school resource officer crying and checked Bruce’s pulse. He said Bruce was still alive at that point. He then left to check Pierce and Seale.

Next up was shooting victim Gary Seale. Seale said he was at the guard shack when he got a call saying he was needed in the office. Seale said the call didn’t sound out of the ordinary and he wasn’t told about the gun at that time.

When he walked into the office, Seale said he asked what was going on, and asked Bartley, “Kenny what have you done?”

He said Pierce then asked Bartley what was in his pocket. Seale said that was when Bartley pulled out the gun and started waving it around. Seale said he didn’t think the gun was real at first and asked Bartley if it was. Bartley said he would show him and pulled out the clip.

Seale said Bartley then said, “I never liked you anyway,” and started firing.

Principal Gary Seale
Principal Gary Seale

Seale says he then put the school on lockdown, and was then told to sit down so he didn’t bleed out. Seale was in the hospital for nine days and still has a bullet embedded in his left side.

Cross-examination from defense attorney Greg Isaacs revealed Seale didn’t know about Bartley’s emotional issues, which Isaacs said was the result of his parents’ split.

Seale said Bartley was cool, calm and collected, and that there were no signs of panic.

He said the whole incident took place in around 90 seconds from the point he walked into the office.

Several TBI experts also then testified, saying Xanax pills were found on Bartley’s person and Valium was in his system.

After a lunch break, victim Jim Pierce took the stand. He testified that a student told him Bartley may have a gun.

“They’d been out in the courtyard clowning around. He bumped up against him and thought that it felt like a gun in his pocket,” said Pierce.

Assistant Principal Jim Pierce
Assistant Principal Jim Pierce

Pierce testified that he told Principal Gary Seale over the walkie-talkie to come to the office. He did not tell him Bartley may have a gun, saying he didn’t want to create unnecessary excitement.

He says Seale arrived 10 minutes later, and agreed with Seale’s account about Bartley’s statement.

“Mr. Seale was still sitting in front of me and he asked ‘Kenny is that real?’ Kenny said, ‘Yes, it’s real. I’ll show you I never did like you anyway.'”

Pierce also still has a bullet inside of him.

In cross examination, the defense pointed out that pierces statements have changed since originally being questioned by the TBI.

“When you gave your audio statement to Agent Vinson you didn’t even recall Mr. Bruce walking in the office did you?” asked Isaacs.

“I don’t know what I said in the audio, but I knew he was in the office,” replied Pierce.

The defense asked if Pierce followed policy for students having weapons at school. He said he didn’t know. The defense also asked if he and Seale worked together on their testimony. He said no.

The defense asked for a mistrial because Pierce testified that he couldn’t remember the statements he made to TBI agents at the hospital. The judge continued with the trial.

Trial wrapped up for the day just before 4 p.m., but is set to resume Wednesday morning.

A jury of six men and six women from Hamilton County was seated on Friday. Four alternates were chosen as well, two men and two women.

blog comments powered by Disqus