A former Kentucky lawmaker serving life in prison apologized publicly for the first time Friday to the family of his former fiance, whom he pleaded guilty to shooting and killing in Lexington four years ago.
During a hearing in Fayette Circuit Court, 60-year-old Stephen R. Nunn didn’t directly say he shot 29-year-old Amanda Ross on Sept. 11, 2009, outside her townhouse. But Nunn, making his first public comments since pleading guilty in 2011, noted that Ross’s mother, Diana Ross of Lexington, wasn’t in the courtroom.
“I don’t blame her for not being here,” said Nunn, dressed in an orange prison outfit and shackled at the hands and feet. “My heart is broken for her.”
Amanda Ross was director of the Financial Standards and Examination division of the Kentucky Department of Insurance.
Nunn was in court to settle a dispute over his access to files compiled by his former criminal defense attorney. Nunn has been trying to look at the six banker’s boxes of material for months. He has been found liable in civil court for Amanda Ross’ death. A damages trial is set for August.
Nunn, who spent about 15 years in the state legislature, is the son of former Kentucky Gov. Louie B. Nunn, who held the office from 1967 to 1971. Nunn is lodged in Green River Correctional Complex in Muhlenberg County and does not have an attorney.
“I am very sorry for everyone I let down,” said Nunn, who at times grew testy in discussions with Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson, who prosecuted Nunn, sat silently through much of the hearing. At one point, the bespectacled Larson and the shackled Nunn stared at each other for a few seconds. Larson scratched his chin while Nunn cut loose a small grin.
After the hearing, Larson said Nunn is now seeking to blame “everybody else, including me,” for his current problems and he expect to hear more from Nunn in prison.
“He’s a guy who has access to a couple of law books and a pad,” Larson said. “He ought to take a look in the mirror.”
Carl Frazier, an attorney for the Ross family, declined to comment when reached by phone on Friday.
The hearing focused on Nunn’s access to the files compiled by his one-time attorney, Warren Scoville of London, Ky. Goodwine on Friday ordered them turned over to the inmate with the stipulation that all items covered by an order keeping them from the public be honored.
Nunn at times grew agitated as he recounted attempts to get the files and delays in turning them over.
“In some ways I felt like I was back in the legislature, where the majority would suspend the rules when they were going to screw somebody,” Nunn said. “I thought I missed that announcement that the rules were suspended.”
Goodwine spelled out the history of the case, which motions and orders were filed and tried to assure Nunn that the court received the boxes from Scoville in February and they’ve remained sealed at the courthouse ever since. Goodwine repeatedly told Nunn that no one has looked inside the boxes as Nunn protested that prosecutors wanted access to the files.
“I understand your skepticism, if that’s what you want to call it,” Goodwine said. “You are entitled to your attorney-client files.”
Nunn accused Goodwine and Larson of trying to violate Kentucky’s rules of professional conduct in handling the files and hinted a conspiracy between the judge and prosecutor.
As corrections officers led Nunn from the courtroom, he had one last comment for Larson.
“I just wanted to say, arrivederci,” Nunn said.
Larson didn’t flinch, muttering about a popular foreign language learning program.
“Rosetta Stone is alive and well,” Larson said.