Petitioners Ask Prosecutor for No Plea Deal for School Shooting Suspect

Knoxville (AP) - Rumors that a plea bargain was in the works for accused school shooter Kenneth Bartley have spurred a petition drive against it.

Bartley was 14 when he was called to the principal's office at Campbell County Comprehensive High School in Jacksboro last November. Other students had said Bartley had a gun.

As school administrators confronted him, Barley is accused of pulling the weapon and killing Assistant Principal Ken Bruce. He's also charged in the wounding of Principal Gary Seale and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce.

Prosecutor Paul Phillips said Monday his office had received petitions encouraging the state not to enter into any plea agreements with Bartley and his attorneys.

Phillips and defense lawyer Mike Hatmaker said Monday no plea bargain had been struck. Phillips said there have been no new developments. Asked if a plea deal has been struck, Hatmaker said 'no.'

Bartley's case is in adult court, meaning if he's convicted of first-degree murder, he would have to serve 51 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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