In 2005 a then 15-year-old Bartley shot and killed Assistant Principal Ken Bruce and wounded Principal Gary Seale and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce in the offices of Campbell County High in Tennessee. Bartley had brought the gun to school and when confronted about it by school administrators he came out shooting. Bartley had accepted a plea deal which sentenced him to 45 years in prison.
The last we had heard anything about this story his plea deal was thrown out on appeal. More recently the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that Bartley should receive a new trial. They ruled that Bartley’s attorney at the time provided ineffective counsel for allegedly talking Bartley into accepting the plea deal without consulting Bartley’s family. Bartley was also one of those cases that was championed by the kids criminal crowd who thought that Bartley should not have been charged as an adult due to his age.
When these appeals were first filed I used to think they should go to trial so Bartley could be convicted and sent to jail for life. Now I’m not so sure that will happen. Time is definitely on Bartley’s side. It’s been 8 years since the shooting and in such a long span witnesses may not remember as many details since then. I don’t think this punk will walk but I could see him getting a lighter sentence.
That would not be justice since Ken Bruce can not appeal his unwarranted execution.