|Subject: Son of ex- Kentucky Governor, who ran for Governor himself, arrested for killing ex- fiancee
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Date Posted: 09/12/09 5:41:49pm
Former Ky. lawmaker Steve Nunn arrested; ex-fiancée found murdered
By Tom Loftus and • Stephenie Steitzer • September 11, 2009
Hours after his former fiancee was found fatally shot Friday morning outside her Lexington home, former Republican gubernatorial candidate and lawmaker Steve Nunn was in state custody after authorities said he had slit his wrists near his parents' graves in Hart County.
Nunn, 56, the son of former Gov. Louie B. Nunn, was being treated at the Bowling Green Medical Center, where a hospital spokeswoman said he was in fair condition Friday afternoon.
Kentucky State Police said Nunn was charged with six counts of wanton endangerment of police officers for pointing or “at least brandishing” a gun at officers who found him between 9:30 and 10 a.m. CDT at the Cosby Church Cemetery in Hart County. He will be jailed on the charges once he is released from the medical center, police said.
Nunn's former fiancee, 29-year-old Amanda Ross, was pronounced dead Friday morning at Lexington's University of Kentucky Medical Center after she was shot in a parking lot outside her condominium just before 6:30 a.m., according to Lexington police and the Fayette County coroner.
Early this year a Fayette County judge ordered Nunn to have no contact with Ross for a year after she filed a domestic violence complaint accusing Nunn of striking her. The incident prompted Nunn to resign as deputy secretary of the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
On Friday, the Lexington/Fayette County Metro Police Department asked state police in Bowling Green to look for Nunn, saying he was “a subject whom they wanted to question” in the homicide, according to a statement from state police.
Asked to look for Nunn by Lexington police, Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton said he was headed for the former Nunn family farm where Steve Nunn grew up. Then he received a call that Nunn had been found at the church cemetery where his father and his mother, Beula C. Nunn, are buried.
Officers found Nunn bleeding from self-inflicted wounds to both wrists, and a handgun was lying on the ground about 10 to 15 feet away, Eaton said.
“He told me he tried to shoot himself,” Eaton said. “But there were no gunshot wounds. I don't know if it backfired or misfired.”
He said Nunn told him he cut his wrists with a knife.
“He was pale, but he was alert,” Eaton said. “He knew who everybody was. ... He never was unconscious.”
Although Nunn was found near the back of the cemetery, Eaton said Nunn told him he had been to the graves and left some “mementos” there.
“He said he made peace with Governor Nunn,” Eaton said.
Eaton said he was with Nunn when he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Nunn's blood pressure was low, but was stabilized on the way, Eaton said.
Eaton, who said he is a friend of Nunn, said Nunn's mood was “solemn to a point” and “at that time didn't make any comments” about any earlier events.
Eaton said Nunn told him he had been at the cemetery for perhaps two hours and had called his two daughters on his cell phone.
After officers arrived, Eaton said Nunn — who has two daughters and a son with the first of his two ex-wives — asked to call his daughters again and was allowed to do so.
Nunn's colleagues said they were stunned by news of Friday's events. House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Russell Springs, said to think that Nunn might be involved in another person's death is “shocking.”
“It's just a terrible, terrible tragedy, the whole situation, you just have to ask, ‘Why,'” he said. “Steve and I have been friends for many years before I was elected. … I just deeply regret what has happened here.”
Former state Sen. Walter Baker, who like Nunn is a Republican who represented Glasgow in the General Assembly, called the sequence of events “bizarre, unbelievable. He had it all and has seemingly thrown it all away.”
Ross' family issued a statement Friday thanking the Lexington community and friends for their “thoughts, prayers, and notes of sympathy we have received in this difficult and trying time. … We hope that this travesty will demonstrate that domestic violence can happen to anyone at any time. And, as a family, we plan to fight for those victims, like Amanda, that cannot fight for themselves.
Louie Nunn served as governor from 1967 to 1971.
Steve Nunn tried to follow in his footsteps, but lost in the Republican primary for governor in 2003. He recently served as Gov. Steve Beshear's deputy secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
In a statement, Beshear said: “What happened this morning was an indescribable tragedy. A young life lost so soon is always heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Amanda Ross and all others affected by this tragedy.”
Reporter Stephenie Steitzer can be reached at (502) 875-5136. Reporter Tom Loftus can be reached at (502) 875-5136. Reporter Joe Gerth contributed to this story.
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